Milstein’s Hall’s grand opening festivities, Celebrate Milstein Hall, energized the College of Architecture, Art, and Planning (AAP) community as 500 alumni and guests reconnected with 300 faculty, students, and staff for an exhilarating weekend on March 9-10, 2012. The weekend featured lectures by Rem Koolhaas, John Reps (M.R.P. ’47), and William Forsythe as well as an exhibition of work by Simon Ungers (B.Arch. ’80).

Cornell University’s Milstein Hall – the first new building in over 100 years for the renowned College of Architecture, Art and Planning – opened its studios for students in late August 2011. Led by OMA partner Shohei Shigematsu, who directs the New York office, and Pritzker Prize-winner Rem Koolhaas, the design for the 47,000-square-foot building physically unites the AAP’s long-separated facilities to form a platform for interdisciplinary collaboration.

Caroline O’Donnell, the Richard Meier Assistant Professor of Architecture, has won the Europan 11 Competition in Ireland, one of 17 European countries that participated in the international contest this year.

An Irish native who has taught at Cornell since 2008, O’Donnell designed a housing and community center project for a 1.6-acre site along the River Tolka in the Dublin Docklands, a formerindustrial area. Her proposal, Counterspace, includes 66 attached housing units, a community center, pool, café, medical clinic, playing spaces, and gardens.

The international jury praised O’Donnell’s project as “rooted in an idea of layering public and private space across the depth of the site. Poetically imagined and drawn, its robust, rhythmic form-making is softened by vertical landscaping. It is a bold, generous and compelling vision of a different urbanism, maybe even a different time.”

O’Donnell, who worked with Leslie Mignin (M.Arch. ‘11) on the competition, calls her project a “rethinking of the Docklands urban fabric. It’s taking the elements of the existing row house — the chimney, the stairs, the garden, the collective streetscape — andinterweaving them in a way that is responsive to the shifting scales, views, light, and energy of the site.”

One of the themes of the Europan competition, which included 1,826 entries and 41 winning projects across Europe, was developing architecture for sustainable cities. The housing in O’Donnell’s project includes, among other elements, solar “chimneys” whose tilted southern face is covered with solar panels, while forming a skylight to the north.

O’Donnell hopes that the project will eventually be built on the site if it attracts funding and a developer.

Jenny Sabin, assistant professor of architecture, has been named a United States Artists (USA) Fellow in Architecture and Design for 2011. The $50,000 USA grants are awarded each year to 50 outstanding performing, visual, media, and literary artists.

“While in L.A. to accept the fellowship, I was overwhelmed by the company that I was in,” says Sabin; current and past fellows from architecture and design include Ada Tolla and Giuseppe Lignano; Teddy Cruz; Greg Lynn; Neil Denari; and Elena Manferdini, a visiting critic in Department of Architecture for the fall 2011 semester. There were also other luminaries from dance, literature, and theatre arts.

The USA Fellows are awarded after a lengthy process that includes an initial nomination, formal application, and peer panel review. Founded in 2006, the USA has awarded more than $15 million in annual grants, and is second only to the MacArthur Fellowship for total funds awarded. Fellows are allowed to use the funds in any way they wish.

Sabin, whose work focuses on the intersection between architecture and science, is the principal of Jenny Sabin Studio, an experimental design studio, and is also a co-founder of the hybrid research and design unit, LabStudio. She joined the Cornell faculty in August 2011.