Skip to content Skip to footer

Arijit Chatterjee wins Washington University/AIA STL Steedman Fellowship in Architecture

Arijit Chatterjee, an architect based in Ahmedabad, India, has been named the winner of the 2021–22 James Harrison Steedman Memorial Fellowship in Architecture.

Established in 1926, the biannual Steedman Fellowship is organized by the College of Architecture and Graduate School of Architecture & Urban Design at the Sam Fox School of Design & Visual Arts at Washington University in St. Louis along with the American Institute of Architects (AIA) St. Louis. The 75,000 USD prize, which supports research through international travel, is awarded on the basis of applicant proposals. It is among the largest such fellowships in the United States.

With the theme of “Disruption,” participants were challenged to explore how architecture, in light of the ongoing climate crisis, can help to chart new paths and implement far-reaching solutions. Mary Ann Lazarus, an internationally recognized leader in sustainable design, chaired a jury comprised of both professional architects and academic scholars.

Chatterjee’s proposal, “Mapping the mind of the river: Architecture as a loss of control,” was chosen from a competitive field of applicants from a dozen nations around the world. The project explores how engineered environmental systems strategically shape the distributions of natural resources—thus “weaponizing food and water as instruments of control”—as well as the reparative potential of both human and non-human adaptations.

“Floods, droughts, famines and the meandering river problematize the role of the architect,” Chatterjee explained, “highlighting the need to consider the fundamental interconnectedness of nature and culture.” As the Steedman Fellow, Chatterjee will investigate river systems across Bangladesh, Burma, China, Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan—a journey of more than 16,000 kilometers—and develop a “Handbook of Repair,” which will document conditions, explore Indigenous practices and propose a range of interventions.

In selecting Chatterjee, the jury was impressed by his examination of “how political power overlaps with landscapes” and to the attention paid to “the material and spatial consequences of these power struggles over water and industry.”

Currently a visiting faculty member in the Faculty of Architecture at CEPT University in Ahmedabad, Chatterjee earned his bachelor’s in architecture from CEPT in 2008 and studied at the École Nationale Supérieure d’Architecture de Paris-Belleville before earning his master’s in architecture from Pontificia Universidad Católica de Valparaíso in 2015. He is also a visiting faculty member at the Bengal Institute for Architecture, Landscapes and Settlements in Dhaka, Bangladesh, and maintains an independent practice that includes projects in Bangladesh, Chile and India.

Jack Rusk: “A Necessary Reckoning: Architectures of Reciprocity and Reparation”

Special Metions
Laura Pappalardo: “Indigenous Technologies of Ground Repair” / Audrey Fischer: “Stewarding Chinampas: Co-speculating Our Many Worlds” / Daniel Jacobs: “Water, Land, and Oil: Liquid Ecologies in the Dutch Delta, Indonesian Archipelago and Texas Gulf Coast” / Pilar Zuluaga: “Undocumented Landscapes and the Architecture of Migration”

Jury + organizers
In addition to Lazarus, the jury included: Shantel Blakely, assistant professor of architecture in the Sam Fox School; Billy Fleming, the founding Wilks Family Director of the Ian L. McHarg Center in the Weitzman School of Design at the University of Pennsylvania; Janette Kim, founding principal of All of the Above and assistant professor and director of Urban Works Agency at the California College of the Arts; and Marsha Maytum, founding principal at Leddy Maytum Stacy Architects in San Francisco.

The 2021 fellowship was organized by the Steedman Governing Committee: Patty Heyda and Chandler Ahrens, both associate professors at the Sam Fox School, and architect William Wischmeyer, the 1973 Steedman Fellow.

About the fellowship
The Steedman Fellowship is supported by an endowment given to the Sam Fox School’s College of Architecture in honor of James Harrison Steedman, who earned a degree in mechanical engineering from Washington University in 1889. A decorated veteran, he served as a lieutenant commander in the U.S. Navy during World War I and died in 1921. The memorial was established by Steedman’s widow, Virginia Clark Weddell, and his brother, George Fox Steedman.

Sam Fox School of Design & Visual Arts at Washington University in St. Louis
One Brookings Drive
St. Louis, Missouri 63130
United States[email protected]
Instagram / Instagram / Instagram / Instagram / Facebook / Twitter