Skip to content

Rotch Travelling Scholarship

3 Asset 12 Krug final

Image courtesy Lindsey Krug, 2024 Rotch Scholarship Winner

About the 2024 Rotch Travelling Scholarship

The application deadline for the 2024 Rotch Travelling Scholarship has passed.

2024 Theme: "Pardon Our Appearance"

Maintenance work is all around us, yet almost always hidden from public view. It takes place during the peripheral hours of the day and at the margins of our spatial imaginaries, in stark contrast to established narratives of progress and innovation that lie at the very core of the architectural profession. This year’s Rotch Travelling Scholarship invites participants to explore the underlying regimes of maintenance and care that shape the built environment: from domestic rituals of cleaning and repair, to the stewardship of existing building stock and material resources, to the collective upkeep of our public spaces and infrastructural systems. By re-positioning the architect as a caretaker of the people, places, and resources around them, the competition invites proposals that shift our understanding of maintenance from a remedial act to a critical framework for exploring alternative value systems, spatial practices, and material ethics.

Learn more

Key Dates:

* Applications due: Friday, January 19, 2024
* Qualified applicants notified: Tuesday, January 23, 2024
* Start of preliminary competition at 12:00 PM EST: Friday, February 23, 2024
* End of preliminary competition at 12:00 PM EST: Monday, February 26, 2024
* Finalists notified: Friday, March 1, 2024
* Start of final competition: Friday, April 5, 2024
* End of final competition: Monday, April 15, 2024
* Jury for final competition + Winner Announcement: Friday, April 19, 2024

Benjamin Smith Rotch of Milton, Massachusetts studied painting in Paris in 1847 and cultivated an early appreciation for the value of foreign travel in stimulating young architects’ imagination through contact with great buildings of the past. One of his sons, Arthur Rotch, studied architecture at the Ecole des Beaux Arts in Paris from 1874 to 1879 and further cemented this belief, as well as the Rotchs’ active patronage to fellow artists.

Upon the senior Rotch’s death in 1882, Arthur and his siblings—Abbot Lawrence, Edith, Aimee (Mrs. Winthrop Sargent) and Annie Lawrence (Mrs. Horatio Appleton Lamb)—established the Rotch Travelling Scholarship on October 1, 1883.

Today, the Rotch Travelling Scholarship provides one emerging professional—an architecture graduate of the past 10 years, with one year of experience in a Massachusetts firm or a degree from a Massachusetts institution—with a stiped to cover a minimum of six months of travel and architecture study abroad.

In 2002, the Rotch Trustees expanded upon the mission of architectural education through foreign travel with the establishment of the Rotch Travelling Studio grant.

The Value of Travel Scholarships

Meet the Rotch Travelling Scholars—Emerging Projects

Session hosted June 15, 2021

About the Rotch Travelling Scholarship with Peter Wiederspahn AIA


When the Rotch family executed an indenture of trust on December 29, 1883 for “the advancement of education in architecture,” the stipend was set at $1,000 per year for two years of travel abroad. In 1912, the stipend amount began to increase gradually until 1936, when the Rotch Trustees and Scholarship Committee substantially increased the sum and reduced the required travel time. Today, the Rotch Scholar receives $40,000 or more for at least six months of travel.


In 1980, the Rotch Trustees requested that the Boston Society of Architects appoint a Rotch Scholarship Committee to advise and “develop a scheme of examinations.”

From the start, applicants were expected to be proficient in a variety of topics, including knowledge of architectural history, construction, French and drawings from the cast. In 1892, a two-stage system of design examinations was established. The preliminary jury would select several drawings that displayed evidence of “architectural potential” from which the final jury would select the Rotch Scholar. In 1959, the Rotch Scholarship Committee moved from this type of preliminary competition toward a “search for imaginative capacity” in future Rotch Scholars. Today, that search is conducted through a two-stage design competition.


If you have any questions about the competition, please reach out to Ben Peterson at [email protected].