2016 DTA Medal

Jason Vigneri-Beane

Distinguished Teacher 2016–17

Jason Vigneri-Beane is a faculty member in the Graduate Architecture & Urban Design program at Pratt Institute, where he coordinates the M.S Arch. degree program and thesis sequence, M. Arch. option studios and digital media courses, and the Graduate Architecture & Urban Design in Rome program.

He is primarily responsible for teaching a range of studios and media courses for both incoming and upper-level students that explore relationships among contemporary design techniques, architectural categories of production, and the history of discourse in the discipline. In addition, he works with thesis students to develop new-future strategies for emerging architectural and urban scenarios, with an emphasis on techno-social change and how architects can develop agile positions on the role of design in our changing world. His work with students in Rome, Florence, and Venice endeavors to help students understand historical and contemporary incarnations of architectural and urban thinking as evolving along a trajectory to which they can contribute. Jason is the founding principal of Split Studio and founding partner of Planetary ONE. Both of these Brooklyn-based practices are interested in multidisciplinary approaches to design with a concentration on working across scales and media that include graphics, industrial design, architecture, urbanism, and ecology. His individual and collaborative projects include architectural robots, information-harvesting drones, amphibious buildings, future cities, swarming infrastructures, prefabricated landscapes, and cyborg ecologies.

His recent and forthcoming publications include projects for aquatic settlements and informal infrastructures, as well as texts on sci-fi design, floating buildings, and swarming building systems. He was taught, lectured, and exhibited in North America, Europe, and Asia.

Commencement Speech

President Schutte, Chair Gitlin and Members of the Board of Trustees, Provost Pillow, my colleague Jenny Lee, President of the Senate, Senators, Deans and Chairs – Thank you very much for this honor. Thank you, Julian Anderson, for the beautiful design of this medal. What other school would entrust this to its students? And what other students would return the good grace so well? I am truly moved
and hope to do justice to the occasion in future semesters. I am extremely grateful to have the very best colleagues in the Pratt faculty and to have worked under a Dean and two Chairs with the most extraordinary pedagogical minds. Most of all, I should thank you, the students, for breathing new life into the Institute every year, pushing us, pushing yourselves, and upholding and enriching our dear culture of mutual development. I would be twice as old, half as happy and dulled without you.

Our time together has been such a pleasure but I suppose it is the bitter-sweetness of teaching that this day comes and you will leave. Each year we faculty begin again with you, knowing you will leave but hoping, as always, that our time together creates something that lasts far beyond these excellent years in this special place. So I suggest that this moment be an appreciation of school as the place that makes time, risks time, layers time and teaches us all that if you give time then surely you can become the future of your discipline.

Time in school is a complex phenomenon and it is crucial to not let it slip into routine once you leave. Remember how special a time a semester is, how it provides a platform for deep thought, development, risk and reward. Take that forward with you because our semesters act as both container and catalyst for our disciplines. Hundreds of years of disciplinary history are artfully compressed into a semester in order to create the future-potential for years of your work worth hundreds more. It is no wonder that I always feel that, somehow, we made more time by working together than apart. We now share deep love for our disciplines and we have co-evolved together in this strange composite of times called school.

I wonder how long the time and the timing of school will stay with you after these years at Pratt. I wonder for how many Mays and Decembers you will have some strange feeling that something is culminating and somewhere there will be, once again, a discussion of what you will contribute to your disciplines. When you eventually lose that feeling I hope it is because you have exceeded us, outdone
us, defined your own generation and transformed what we have tried to give you into something we could never have imagined ourselves. That, then, is the time to come back and visit. Because we teachers have to believe that, given time, good things come to those who wait. We know it takes years but we hope to see you again soon and, fortunately for us, time indeed flies when we are having fun.
Thank you.