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Dustin Julius Wins Architecture Award

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Dustin Julius presenting his project

Dustin Julius, a 2014 B.Arch. alumnus who is now pursuing his M.Arch. at Penn State, has received the Student Silver Award for Design from the Pennsylvania Council Society of American Registered Architects for his project, “Complexity and Reduction: An Apparatus for Adjunct Professors.” Julius layered spaces “to create a managed live-work environment for the dynamic, yet underutilized community of adjunct professors” in the Allston neighborhood of Boston, Mass. 

Julius chose this site, near both Harvard University and Boston College, because it epitomizes the major issue concerning the population of adjunct professors across the country.

“Seventy-six percent of higher education faculty are non-tenured adjuncts,” explained Julius. “The neighborhood of Allston in Boston exhibits the intersection of residential, business, and university layers.”

Choosing to reimagine traditional work environments, Julius wanted to inspire collaboration within this hybrid community to tap its potential synergy and to draw upon post-modern architectural theory.

“The ideas that formed the foundation of this project are rooted in a study of post-modernism, in particular Robert Venturi’s text, Complexity and Contradiction in Architecture. The exploration of theories of complexity, reduction, and layering carried through the design portion of the project to create an apparatus for adjunct professors,” said Julius.

This is not the first recognition that Julius has received for his project—he was one of two winners of the Penn State Department of Architecture 2014 Kossman Award for fifth-year design thesis reviews.

“The thesis requires the student to thoughtfully consider a design project in an area of shared discourse,” explained Jawaid Haider, professor of architecture at Penn State and coordinator of the Kossman Fifth-Year Design Thesis Reviews, as well as Julius’ thesis advisor and current graduate advisor. “Dustin’s design thesis addressed a critical issue… His project is exemplary because it demonstrates intellectual ambition, superb critical thinking skills, thorough research, comprehensive presentation, and professional communication abilities. These qualities permeated his overall presentation—from the subtle quality of engaging collaborative spaces for adjunct professors, students, and other entrepreneurs to a profound understanding of the complexity of the site with its contextual layers.”

Julius’ success comes as no surprise to Haider, who said, “Dustin is a student of great talent and dedication. Based on the quality of his design thesis project last year, his overall performance, and his intellectual maturity and rigor, I am not surprised he is recognized with the Silver Award for Design by the Society of American Registered Architects this year.”

Julius praised Haider and the Department of Architecture for their support of his work. “This project would not have been possible without the help and support of my professor and advisor: Jawaid Haider. His insight constantly inspires me to push the limits of the content I am exploring. I also owe credit to the Penn State architecture department both for their support of resources, as well as the studio environment that facilitates constant learning from peers and professors alike.”

Julius is currently working on his M.Arch. thesis, which is an extension of the theoretical discourse that began with “Complexity and Reduction.” His master’s thesis project focuses on the use of tools and technologies in the field of architecture. 

“This discussion takes a critical stance on the digitization of the design process,” he added.

Julius has also submitted “Complexity and Reduction” to The Architectural Review’s Global Architecture Graduate Awards (GAGA) ( and Madrid's Archiprix Competition (

To watch a video about “Complexity and Reduction,” visit the website: