Congratulations to Matthew Cook, a 5th year architecture student at the University of Notre Dame, and the rest of the 2014-2015 class of Luce Scholars! After an intense three-month-long selection process, 18 Luce Scholars were chosen from among 155 outstanding nominees and 75 nominating institutions for this highly prestigious award.
The Luce Scholars Program is a nationally competitive fellowship program. It was launched by the Henry Luce Foundation in 1974 to enhance the understanding of Asia among potential leaders in American society. The program provides stipends, language training, and individualized professional placement in Asia for 15-18 Luce Scholars each year, and welcomes applications from college seniors, graduate students, and young professionals in a variety of fields who have had limited exposure to Asia.
The program is unique among American-Asian exchanges in that it is intended for young leaders who have had limited experience of Asia and who might not otherwise have an opportunity in the normal course of their careers to come to know Asia.
Degree: B.A. in Architecture, University of Notre Dame
Nominating Institution: University of Notre Dame
Field of Professional Interest: Architecture and Urban Planning
Matt is an architecture and Italian language student in his final semester at the University of Notre Dame. After a childhood spent drawing in and around the fantastic buildings of his native Chicago, Matt chose to study architecture and urban design in order to continue cultivating his creativity while working with and for others on a daily basis. While he loves the aesthetic puzzle of every design, it is really the human element of architecture that makes the profession so appealing for Matt. His studies have allowed him to travel extensively, and his enriching experiences both at home and abroad have greatly influenced his understanding of the role of tradition in architecture. From Rome (where he studied for a year) to China to the American South, Matt is most moved by traditional architecture and the story it tells about a people and their history. Most recently, Matt’s travels led him to Havana, Cuba, where he and his studio produced an urban masterplan for an abandoned waterfront site. In addition to planning several new blocks containing civic buildings, public space, and affordable housing, Matt also designed a 750 seat concert hall, faced in local stone, on a site adjacent to a primary public plaza. This semester, Matt will complete his thesis design for a winery in Vernazza, a coastal village in northwest Italy that was hit by catastrophic landslides in 2011. The winery will provide a link between the town and its natural setting, reinvigorating the traditional viticultural economy of Vernazza while making the land safer for human habitation by increasing cultivation. Matt has also been a lifelong student of languages; he started learning French at age five and began his study of Italian when he started college. He now has the pleasure of helping others pursue mastery of a language in his role as a French and Italian tutor at Notre Dame’s Center for the Study of Languages and Cultures. When he does (occasionally) leave his drafting desk, Matt can be found making music with his friends, either at the piano, which he has played since age five, or on the guitar his grandfather built. He also enjoys woodworking and is currently working on a wine cabinet to accompany his thesis design. Matt hopes that by looking to the past to generate design solutions for the future, his work will bring renewed awareness to the importance of tradition in architecture.