The Banham Fellowship in the Department of Architecture is intended to support design work that situates architecture within the general field of socio-cultural and material critique.
The fellowship honors the legacy of Peter Reyner Banham, who taught at UB from 1976-80 and produced a foundational body of scholarship on material/visual culture as a reflection of contemporary social life. Banham spent his time in Buffalo engaged in a scholarly project on the imaginary of American industrial architecture at work in early modernism that took the form of historical research, hands-on engagement and seminar instruction, resulting in his landmark work, A Concrete Atlantis.
In celebration of Banham's legacy of experimental criticism, this fellowship supports the research and creative activity of emerging practitioners. Over the course of a year, fellows teach, deliver a public lecture and prepare an exhibition culminating from their research and creative work at the school.
2018-19 Banham Fellow Mustafa Faruki focuses his creative practice on the application of humanistic inquiry towards a critical architectural design. He is founding principal of theLab-lab, a design practice dedicated to exploring unconventional provocations and outputs available to architectural drawing and design.
He has exhibited, presented and lectured on his design work at Barnard College, Parsons, the New Museum’s Ideas for the New City and the Drawing Center, where he was a participant in the Open Sessions exhibition program. Faruki has worked for and alongside a number of New York City design firms and institutions, including Marvel Architects, Supermass Studio, WASA Studio, and the Brooklyn Museum. Before coming to Buffalo, he was a Lecturer in the Asian American Studies Program at CUNY Hunter College, where his teaching centered on narratives of struggle and resilience found in the visual culture of Asians in America.
His practice, theLab-lab, focuses on architectures that are instigated by clients such as humor, desire, memory, irony, alienation, humor, vulgarity and loss. Projects by theLab-lab have received support from the New York State Council on the Arts, the Drawing Center, the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council and the Norwegian Ministry of Culture. In 2017, theLab-lab was one of six firms awarded the prestigious League Prize for Young Architects and Designers by the Architectural League of New York.
Faruki’s research in the context of the Banham Fellowship is interested in testing the ability of representational tools to convey architectural propositions that can also function as a rhetorical device. To this end, he is leading a research seminar that incorporates both an intensive study of precedent approaches to architectural representation, alongside a design workshop that tests hypotheses about possible representational strategies. The seminar identifies sites in Buffalo that will serve as laboratories for the serious evaluation of (sometimes whimsical) design inventions: as the semester progresses, these sites will become familiar and cherished fields of speculation, experimentation, and play.
Faruki has a BA in Architecture and an MArch from Columbia University, and an MA in History of Art from the School of Oriental and African Studies, London.