October 17, 2016 Dozier Travels Three Continents in Transformative Experience

Catherine Dozier 2

Catherine Dozier, a graduate student in the UT College of Architecture and Design School of Architecture, traveled the world this summer to connect culture and architecture. Dozier’s travels were made possible by Aydelott Travel Award, a prestigious scholarship that funded her summer-long journey through Finland, China, Japan, and Brazil. As she navigated 15 cities across three continents, she studied the importance of cultural identity and began to analyze different ways in which it affects design of public architecture.

“History and tradition impact architectural design, and having the opportunity to experience cultures around the world gave me a new lens through which to view those relationships,” Dozier said. “This trip, which began with a desire to better understand architecture from other parts of the world, was a transformative experience that will shape the rest of my academic as well as my professional career.”

One of just four winners, Dozier was presented with the Aydelott Travel Award in March 2016. The award, endowed by the late architect Alfred Aydelott and his wife Hope, allowed the third-year graduate student to experience the architecture she was analyzing and to examine various aspects of the four cultures in a way that would not have been possible from a studio desk in the United States.

Dozier’s excursion began in Finland, where she studied a cultural center that houses the Parliament for the ancestors of a nomadic people who once roamed Arctic Scandinavia. From there, she travelled more than 3,000 miles to China, where she examined the organic architecture of the Harbin Opera House.

Kinkaku-ji, The Golden Temple in Kyoto, Japan

Dozier then spent the better part of three weeks in Japan gaining an understanding of the Tomihiro Hoshino Museum, which houses artwork and poetry by a celebrated quadriplegic artist. She ended her analysis by studying Praça das Artes, a cultural arts complex located in the historic center of Sao Paulo, Brazil.

Dozier’s eight-week itinerary was based on her winning proposal, which outlined the agenda she planned to follow while completing her analysis.

“I wanted to broaden my scope of the world through extensive travel, and I was excited by the opportunity to experience firsthand the structures that I had learned about in class. The reality of a space is absolutely incomprehensible from afar,” she said. “My aim was to capture the intangible aspects of design, the details that really define a place. I am incredibly grateful to have had the opportunity to fulfill that desire over the course of the summer.”

Aydelott and his wife hoped the endowment, awarded to one student from each of four southeastern universities, would inspire students of architecture to become adept in conducting architectural analysis. Both Tennessee natives, the Aydelotts wanted to encourage aspiring architects in this region to expand their worldviews.

“This incredible opportunity was more inspiring that I could have imagined,” Dozier said. “I set out with the intention of analyzing the role of cultural identity in the design of architecture, but I did not realize what an effect the experience would have on me. It is currently driving my thesis, and I am sure that it will be a factor in what I design for the entirety of my professional career.”

Graduate-level as well as third- and fourth-year students in the School of Architecture who are interested in applying for the 2017 Aydelott Travel Award should attend an information session on Nov. 30. The successful applicant must return as a full-time student after the Aydelott travel is completed. Applications for the 2017 award will be due Jan. 25, 2017.

For more information about the UT School of Architecture, visit


Article written by Taylor Gray, 2016-2017 Communications Intern

A Look at Catherine Dozier’s Aydelott Travel Summer 2016

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