Travelling Scholarship Travelling Studio
Image from winning Rotch 2012 project

Image by Robert Alexander

How does this work?

The Rotch Travelling Scholarship is an annual two-stage design competition that results in one person, deemed the Rotch Scholar, traveling the world for eight months studying architecture — and we pick up the tab. In the first stage of the selection process, a weekend-long preliminary design competition is held. Finalists from this competition go on to compete in the second stage, a 10-day competition culminating in a design presentation to a distinguished jury in Boston.

What are you looking for?

Juries seek “evidence of imaginative capacity.” Specifically, we look for:

  • Strong organizing conceptual principle or thesis
  • Quality of poetic and philosophical rationale
  • Inventiveness
  • Effective development of structure, circulation and materials
  • Thoughtful consideration of site and context
  • Representation of a complete architectural project, both physically and conceptually
  • Quality, completion, clarity and effectiveness of presentation

To get a sense of the design competitions, we strongly recommend looking at past winners and their submissions.

How much do I receive to travel?

The Rotch Scholar receives $37,000 or more to travel and study abroad for a minimum of eight months. This sum, distributed in four payments, covers expenses incurred by the Rotch Scholar for the stated period of travel abroad. See below for payment distribution details.

What is my obligation if i win?

The Rotch Scholar must travel for a minimum of eight months, beginning within the calendar year of award receipt. The study topic and itinerary are at the winner’s discretion (subject to Rotch Committee approval).

The winner must keep a journal/blog documenting his or her travels in images, drawings and text. This record is used by the Scholar Mentor on the Rotch Committee and the Rotch secretary to approve payment distribution.

Four payments are made to the winner of roughly half, two-quarters and a small final payment, which is withheld until the Rotch Scholar delivers a compilation of his or her travel research to the Rotch Trustees. The compilation must be a bound report and available to be printed on-demand (lulu.com is a suggested publisher). All reports are kept on permanent file.

Competition calendar

1/24/14: Applications due
1/31/14: Qualified applicants notified
2/7/14: Start of preliminary competition
2/10/14: Finish of preliminary competition
2/14/14: Finalists notified
2/28/14: Start of final competition
3/10/14: Finish of final competition
3/20/14: Jury for final competition