The Robert L. Wesley Award is a new yearly award that supports BIPOC undergraduate students enrolled in architecture, landscape architecture, urban design, or structural engineering programs across the US. The $10,000 award is an unrestricted scholarship that aims to support the academic development of the awarded students. The award honors Robert L. Wesley, who joined SOM Chicago in 1964 and became the first Black partner at Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM). Wesley has been involved in many civic and professional organizations, most notably serving as a founding board member of the Newhouse Architecture Foundation, which brings architecture and design programs to high schools.
In 2020, the Robert L. Wesley Award will provide three $10,000 unrestricted awards.
In addition to the economic support, recipients of the award will be paired with one of the jurors who will act as their mentor for the year.
- The award is open to BIPOC students enrolled in an accredited architecture, landscape architecture, urban design, or engineering undergraduate program in the United States.
- Students need to be enrolled in a four- or five-year undergraduate program.
- Students can be enrolled in any year of their undergraduate program.
- A recipient of the Robert L. Wesley Award is not excluded from reapplying in subsequent years while enrolled in an undergraduate program.
- One- to two-page personal statement describing the applicant's path in their chosen program, ambitions, challenges, and why they should receive the Robert L. Wesley Award.
- Letter of support by one faculty member or department chair familiar with the applicant's work. The letter should be sent directly to email@example.com with the name of the award and applicant on the subject line.
- Digital portfolio or visual samples (less than 10 MB) are encouraged but not required.
- Two- to three-minute video statement in addition to the written statement is encouraged but not required.
Finalists for the Robert L. Wesley Award will be interviewed by representatives of the SOM Foundation and external jurors.
A jury, chaired by Iker Gil, will be responsible for awarding three submissions.
Leo Chow is the SOM Foundation Cochair and Design Partner in SOM’s San Francisco office. Chow has led a broad range of projects in the United States and Asia, including headquarters and commercial office buildings, residential and hotel towers, higher education facilities, and the planning of urban districts.
Iker Gil is the Executive Director of the SOM Foundation, Chicago (Chair).
Quilian Riano is the Associate Director of the College of Architecture & Environmental Design at Kent State University. Riano is an architectural and urban designer, researcher, writer, and educator committed to creating designs that support public/civic ideals. He is the founder of DSGN AGNC, a design studio exploring political engagement through architecture, urbanism and art.
Robert L. Wesley is Retired Partner in SOM's Chicago office. During his nearly four decades at SOM, Wesley worked on an impressive range of civic, commercial, entertainment, master planning, and infrastructural projects in the US and internationally, including Algeria, Australia, Canada, Mexico, and the UK.
Amanda Williams is a visual artist based in Bridgeport, Chicago. Williams grew up in Chicago's South Side and trained as an architect. Her work investigates color, race, and space in the city while blurring the conventional line between art and architecture.
Monday, November 9, 2020 at 11:59pm CST
Submit link to digital submission to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please, include the name of the award and applicant on the subject line.
Submissions will be accepted starting October 26, 2020.