T. David Fitz-Gibbon Endowed Fund
The T. David Fitz-Gibbon Professorship in Architecture was funded by the T. David Fitz-Gibbon Charitable Trust, with the assistance of Fitz-Gibbon trustees Thomas N. P. Johnson, Jr. (College '41); Thomas N. P. Johnson III (College '73); and William M. Walsh, Jr. (Architecture '61). Mr. Fitz-Gibbon, founder of a Norfolk-based architecture firm, helped organize several chapters of the American Institute of Architects and was a founding member of the Virginia Society of Architects. Other Fitz-Gibbon gifts include a Jefferson Scholarship, two athletics scholarships, a nursing fellowship, a fund for the restoration of the Jeffersonian buildings and grounds, and contributions to the Birdwood Foundation.
Robin Dripps continues to serve as the T. David Fitz-Gibbon Professor of Architecture since her election by the Board of Visitors in 1993. Professor Dripps teaches within the studio design sequence, lectures on architectural theory, and directs a seminar that frames contemporary spatial practices relative to the development of computation, access to data and new material practices. The ACSA honored her teaching with its Distinguished Professorship Award in 1992. Educated at Princeton (BA in architecture) and the University of Pennsylvania (M. Arch), she has been writing and lecturing on the structure of myth as a fundamental basis for architectural form. This work was published as “The First House: Myth, Paradigm, and the Task of Architecture,” where it received a Phi Beta Kappa book award in 1999. Professor Dripps recent research, writing, and teaching deals with the pragmatic and poetic opportunities of a shift in interest from the figure to the intellectual and physical grounds, fields, and other networks that give order to human action. Her essay, “Groundwork” was published by Routledge in “Site Matters,” an anthology on recent re-thinking about sites edited by Carol Burns and Andrea Kahn, and “Notes on an Ethical Context for Fragmentation, Continuous and Multiple Grounds, and other Open Fields of Action,” was included in the collection of essays, “The Hand and the Soul: Aesthetics and Ethics in Architecture and Art.”
For the last eight years, Professor Dripps has been working with advanced relational computation to develop processes of linking the vast amount of urban data that is becoming available to strategies for generating new structures and patterns of urbanization. This will be the basis of new work that is studying new patterns of urbanization that will engage the surrounding hinterlands, or countryside that is the productive territory that supports urbanization but that is rarely conceived of within a comprehensive understanding of how these not so different worlds need to coexist.
The design work of Professor Dripps, with Lucia Phinney, deals with the unobserved edge shared between architecture and landscape architecture, or between construction and ecology. Working with large scale earth works, water works, and agriculture, as well as scaffolding systems, operable shade cloth, and other lightweight materials, they have produced a body of work revealing different ways that the interior life of architecture can engage its political and natural context. This work has been published and exhibited in America, Europe, and Asia. Professor Dripps is also the designer and driver of a car that established two world land speed records.