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dissertations

The Presidents medals 2001

MEDALLIST Gwyn Lloyd Jones

OXFORD BROOKES UNIVERSITY

Twelve Part Narrative

Tutor: Dr Murray Fraser Every year from 1935 onwards, Frank Lloyd Wright travelled between his two homes, Taliesin North in Wisconsin and Taliesin West in Arizona, to make use of the warm winter climate in the desert. Gwyn Lloyd Jones'dissertation asks how Wright has influenced the American landscape, and what would be revealed if one were to reconstruct this journey today?

Jones takes the reader on a trip which is partly imaginary (he takes Wright as a companion), and partly an account of his own, very real, personal odyssey which started in Alexandria, Virginia, and retraced Wright's route between the two Taliesins. The result is a collection of 12 different essays that relate to 12 cultural themes and to 12 different US states. Jones describes the way ordinary Americans make themselves a place within a new landscape by interviewing recent immigrants,10th-generation Americans and native Americans about their homes, ancestry and sense of identity. Other measures were more prosaic and included: photographs; car mileage statistics; newspaper clippings;

postcards and souvenirs. The judges were unanimous in the view that this 'astonishingly professional and filmic script' should win an overall Dissertation Medal.

ES'Tremendous new insights into FLW that just weren't there before, and from a young Welsh architect. A wonderful burst of creative lateral thinking'

IB'If there's one subject you should never write on it's FLW. So the idea of a diploma student tackling this project and providing new insights is remarkable'

SC'Superbly self-reflexive. He had a looseness, freedom, a lightness of touch that kept it alive. There's a humanity there which is rich and stimulating. It didn't fetishise FLW, he was right there beside him in the driving seat'

NL'A very fresh way of writing. Thoroughly charming and written with a visual imagination moving seamlessly between disparate material' IL'It would make a great film'

TUTOR PRIZE Dr Murray Fraser trained as an architect and architectural historian at the Bartlett School of Architecture, where he taught on the MSc Course in Architectural History before moving to Oxford Brookes University.He is a qualified architect with many years of experience in community and housing work.He teaches studio design and history and theory at Oxford Brookes, and now acts as the director of design. He has written widely about crosscultural influences on architecture and urbanism, and is also presently leading a research project into real-time digital modelling. He is a regular contributor to the architectural press, especially as a reviewer for The Architects' Journal. This is the seventh consecutive year in which a student of his has been awarded a RIBA Dissertation Prize.

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