World tour beckons Owl
Rice Architecture grad second alum to win SOM fellowship in four years
BY MIKE WILLIAMS
Rice News staff
Viktor Ramos must be a city boy, because he’s going to a lot of them very soon.
The Albuquerque, N.M., native who earned a master’s degree this year at the Rice School of Architecture expects to visit New York City next year. And Mexico City; Sao Paulo; Cairo; Mumbai, India; Dhaka, Bangladesh; Seoul, South Korea; Tokyo; Shenzhen, China; and Hong Kong. Back to back.
He’s got $50,000 to see them all as the winner of this year’s prestigious SOM Foundation Prize for Architecture, Design and Urban Design.
Ramos is the second Rice graduate to earn the honor in four years, following 2006 winner Cathlyn Newell ’06. The research and travel fellowship enables “one outstanding student to do in-depth research, collaborate with other designers and pursue independent study outside the realm of established patterns,” according to the foundation.
“It’s pretty amazing,” said Ramos, who’s spending his summer working at Albuquerque’s Antoine Predock Architect, which designed Rice’s Dell Butcher Hall and the South Plant. He said the 112 competitors for this year’s award were required to compile a research program and travel itinerary and submit it by July. “I liked how my portfolio turned out, but I never expected I’d get the grand prize,” he said.
Ramos, 28, has a particular interest in large-scale projects in urban contexts and has designed his grand tour to study as many such examples as a five-month journey will allow.
John Casbarian, dean of the Rice School of Architecture, called Ramos “a remarkable student who’s most deserving of this award” and said having two students win the honor in four years reflects well on the school.
Ramos, in turn, is grateful for Casbarian’s guidance. “He played a major role throughout my time at Rice. He oversaw a lot of my projects and was always in on my reviews, as was (former dean) Lars Lerup,” he said. Ramos also thanked thesis advisers Troy Schaum and Eva Franch Gilabert, both Visiting Wortham Fellows, and Fares el-Dahdah, associate professor of architecture and graduate program chair. Ramos earned his undergraduate degree at the University of New Mexico.
The SOM Foundation and its programs are funded through an endowment established by partners of the architectural firm Skidmore, Owings and Merrill LLP.