Nicholas de Monchaux, an associate professor of architecture at the College of Environmental Design, was awarded a 2018 Graham Foundation Grant for a research project titled “Rebel Plans: Apple, Star Wars, and Architecture at Bay.”
De Monchaux’s research hopes to explore the Bay Area’s architectural history as related to two of the region’s “self-fulfilling prophetic visions of our designed futures: Star Wars and Apple,” de Monchaux writes in his project proposal. “These two juggernauts of technology, culture, and utopian thinking are linked not only by a coincidence of geography, but a hidden history and historiography in which the social and professional lives of George Lucas, Steve Jobs, and several of their key lieutenants are surprisingly and influentially intertwined.”
The Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts, founded in 1956, fosters the development and exchange of diverse and challenging ideas about architecture and its role in the arts, culture, and society. Its grants provide opportunities to artists and designers to create, develop, and communicate a project about architecture and the designed environment that will contribute to their creative, intellectual, and professional growth at crucial or potentially transformative stages in their careers.
“We are all nerds now. Star Wars and Apple reveal a great deal about why today's world—especially architecture and urbanism—looks and works the way it does,” de Monchaux writes. “Their aesthetic and operational defaults and biases, and the social history behind them, illuminate a contemporary crisis between order and openness, between power and the distribution of power, that must be continually renegotiated as we make buildings, cities, and infrastructure at the beginning of the twenty-first century.”