April 15, 2022
From top, l to r. Amna Ansari, Founding Partner, Associates UltraBarrio; Margaret Wallace Brown, Director, City of Houston's Planning & Development Department; Daimian S. Hines, Founder and Principal, Hines Architecture + Design From bottom, l to r. Igor Marjanović, William Ward Watkin Dean, Rice Architecture; Ikhlas Sabouni, Dean, Prairie View A&M University

We’re pleased to announce the jury for the 2022 Houston Design Research Grant. This year’s grant is open nationally to university students and faculty looking to work on research projects that contribute to the improvement of Houston’s urban environment. This year, the grant does not have a theme and is instead open to a diversity of topics of the applicant’s choosing. Applications closed April 12.

The five-member jury will select two winning applicants (one Student, one Faculty), who will receive research seed funds in the amount of $6,000 each. In addition to funding aid, the winning proposal from each category will be published in Cite magazine, and the winners will present their projects at a lunchtime lecture at Rice Architecture. Winners will be announced Wednesday, April 27, during the Rice Architecture Annual Awards Ceremony.

This year’s jury includes:  

Amna Ansari, Founding Partner, Associates UltraBarrio
Amna Ansari is founding partner of Associates UltraBarrio, an urban design and architecture practice with a central goal to shape cities to be more civic, sustainable, and generationally connected by design. Ansari’s intentional multidisciplinary background aligns architecture, urbanism, landscape, and technologies towards socially vibrant, equitable and enduring spaces. Her recent talks - 'Eco-Altitude', 'Covert Landscapes' and 'Flight, Flows and New Fields' anticipate the overlaps of public space with technology. Amna participated at the Aerial Futures think tank ‘The Next Frontier’ as a speaker and panelist speculating on the future of commercial space flight and its urban impacts among a select number of leaders in NASA and Houston Area Aviation.

Ansari’s method of actively processing a broad range of scenarios concerning urban strategies for the future has been recognized through exhibitions in Washington DC, Rome, Milan, and Boston. As a designer who has lived and worked in Shanghai, Vienna, Boston, and today Houston, her portfolio of architecture and planning projects has contributed to numerous AIA and ASLA design awards. Ansari has also taught graduate and undergraduate architecture studios in Boston and Houston.

Margaret Wallace Brown, Director, City of Houston's Planning & Development Department.
Margaret Wallace Brown oversees the City’s regional and community-based planning efforts, including land-development standards and neighborhood character preservation programs such as historic preservation. She also leads the strategic transportation planning and community planning efforts, including the Mayor’s signature Complete Communities Initiative.

Daimian S. Hines, Founder and Principal, Hines Architecture + Design
Daimian S. Hines AIA, NOMA, is an award-winning design architect and an emerging critical voice in the design community who undertakes projects and pursuits that enhance communities and cultures. He founded Hines Architecture + Design after returning from several years of international practice. He endeavored to challenge the networking structure and focus of a traditional minority firm. From its inception, his mission has been building a global mission-driven practice. Daimian believes architecture is a confluence of artistic creativity, a splash of color, technological discipline, a willingness to synthesize and incorporate cultural and community interests into the design of buildings.

Igor Marjanović, William Ward Watkin Dean, Rice Architecture
Igor Marjanović is the William Ward Watkin Dean of Rice Architecture. He has published widely on the history of architectural education and practice, with a particular emphasis on how architects use texts, buildings, and drawings to create cross-cultural dialogues. His collaborative research projects have resulted in critically acclaimed books and exhibitions such as Drawing Ambience, On the Very Edge, and a monograph on Chicago’s Marina City, which was featured on PBS Newshour.

Ikhlas Sabouni, Dean, Prairie View A&M University
Dr. Ikhlas Sabouni is a Dean and Distinguished Professor of Architecture at Prairie View A&M University (PVAMU). She received a Master's and a Doctorate of Architecture from Rice University in Houston, Texas. At Rice, she won the William Dunlap Darden Award in Architecture for her outstanding doctoral dissertation. At PVAMU, she transformed a small Architecture department into a well-recognized autonomous School of Architecture with three undergraduate and two graduate programs. She led the Architecture Program at PVAMU through four successful reaccreditation visits and chaired several NAAB visits nationally and internationally. Dr. Sabouni received several teaching honors; The Texas Society of Architects (TxA) Edward J. Romieniec, FAIA Award, The American Institute of Architects (AIA) Houston Chapter Educator Award, the Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture (ACSA) Distinguished Professor, the ACSA Creative Achievement Award, The Prairie View A&M University Distinguished Professor, the Texas A&M University Systems Regents' Professor, and the College of Engineering and Architecture Faculty of the Year three times, to mention a few. She co-chaired two regional ACSA conferences and served on professional honor award juries in architecture, such as the first National AIA Diversity Recognition Program, The ACSA Distinguished Professor Award, the AIA Houston Young Architect Award, and the Texas  Society of Architects 25 Years Awad. Dr. Sabouni served on several national, regional, and local boards; Texas Architecture Foundation, American Institute of Architecture Students (AIAS), ACSA, and Tau Sigma Delta Honor Society (TSD). She also served as the secretary, the Vice-Chancellor, and the Chancellor of the ACSA College of Distinguished Professors. Currently, she is serving as President-elect of the National TSD  Honor Society.

The Houston Design Research Grant is made possible thanks to a generous gift from The Mitsui U.S.A. Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Mitsui & Co. (U.S.A.), Inc. (“Mitsui USA”).
Established in 1987, The Mitsui U.S.A. Foundation currently supports more than 50 initiatives across the US in the areas of Education, Community Welfare, Arts and Culture, and Employee Matching and Volunteerism.

More information about the Houston Design Research Grant is available here.