On Nov. 28, at the World Interiors News Awards presented at the Saatchi Gallery in London, the Trustees of the Jonathan Speirs Scholarship Fund (JSSF) announced that scholarship program’s first recipient: Alex Stewart, a second year graduate student in the Master of Architecture program at the School of Architecture, Parsons, the New School for Design in New York City. Stewart was selected from a field of eight candidates representing schools of architecture in the United Kingdom and the United States. The £10,000 (approximately $15,000) purse will be put toward Stewart’s final year of graduate school.
On behalf of the Trustees, JSSF Chairman John Roake said, “I am delighted to have made this first award. While the selection process was tough thanks to the very strong field of candidates, it was a unanimous decision to make Alex the first JSSF Scholar. His love of architecture and light was transparent from the outset but it was his enthusiasm, professionalism, and warmth that reminded us so much of the individual at whose behest this scholarship has been set up.”
The Jonathan Speirs Scholarship Fund was established in November 2012 to honor the legacy of architect and lighting designer Jonathan Speirs who died on June 18 of that year. The fund is somewhat different than other lighting scholarship programs in that, first, it is specifically awarded to a student of architecture interested in pursuing a career in architectural lighting design, second, it has been established to run for a specific period of time (10 years), third, it will fund only one candidate per year (10 candidates over 10 years), and, fourth, the candidate nomination process to the JSSF Trustees is made by the dean, the director, or the department head of an accredited school of architecture. A candidate statement and project portfolio is also part of the review process.
Unable to accept the award in person, Stewart said, “It is an honor to be selected as the Jonathan Speirs scholarship winner, and to be the inaugural year makes it even more special. I see myself as a steward for the award and Jonathan's memory moving forward. He sounded like a truly wonderful man. I only wish I had had the opportunity to meet him. However, his legacy most certainly lives on. Thank you for this distinction.”
The scholarship is funded exclusively via donations from companies and individuals in the architecture, lighting design, and engineering communities. For more information about the scholarship, go to jssf.org.uk.