Katy Barkan, lecturer in the architecture and urban design department in the UCLA School of the Arts and Architecture, was awarded the 2020 New Rome Prize in Architecture for her proposal “Obelisks: A History of Uncertainty.”

Barkan’s Los Angeles-based practice, Now Here, focuses on a range of speculative and built projects and works to transgress the categorical distinctions between building, object, text and drawing, to imagine alternative engagements with architecture. Before becoming a lecturer at UCLA, she was faculty at the Harvard Graduate School of Design from 2012-2014. Her graduate thesis “Grounds for Architecture” was selected for exhibition at the 12th International Architecture Biennale in Venice in 2010.

Barkan’s proposal, “Obelisks: A History of Uncertainty,” looks at the unprecedented collection of obelisks that network Rome as sites of unstable architectural classification and as a point of departure for an alternative intellectual history of equivocation and uncertainty in architecture.

For more than a century, the American Academy in Rome has awarded the Rome Prize to support innovative and cross-disciplinary work in the arts and humanities. Each year, the prize is awarded to about thirty artists and scholars who represent the highest standard of excellence and are in the early or middle stages of their careers. The winners are invited to Rome to pursue their work in an atmosphere conducive to intellectual and artistic freedom, interdisciplinary exchange and innovation.