April 7, 2021

Harvard Graduate School of Design Announces Wheelwright Prize Finalists

Wheelwright Prize finalists from left: Germane Barnes, Luis Berríos-Negrón, Iulia Statica, Catty Dan Zhang. 

The Harvard Graduate School of Design today announced four finalists for the 2021 Wheelwright Prize, which recognizes early-career architects fostering new forms of research in the field. This year, judges paid particular attention to work addressing issues of race, climate change, migration, and the global pandemic.

The four finalists include Germane Barnes, whose work “Anatomical Transformations in Classical Architecture” investigates how Roman and Italian architecture may be understood through the lens of non-white constructors while taking into account contributions of the African Diaspora; Luis Berríos-Negrón, who is investigating the impact of colonialism on present day climate change through his project, “Remediating the Specularium: a deposition of colonial memory that may contribute to the geological timescales of the Anthropocene (so to learn to live, again)”; Iulia Statica, who is examining the role of architecture in humanizing domestic spaces through “Home and Beyond: Women, Care and the Architecture of Migration”; and Catty Dan Zhang, whose work “Shared Air: Space, Automation and Humanity in Architectures of Meat Processing” offers a look at air flow and the perceptions of shared atmospheres, such as meat processing plants, making a case for automation. 

Now in its ninth cycle, the competition garnered nearly 150 applications from over 45 countries—all vying for the $100,000 grand prize to further their design research. The winner will be selected later this month. Previous winners have presented research proposals centered around global studies of kitchen typologies; the architecture and culture of greenhouses; and the potential of seaweed, shellfish, and the intertidal zone to advance material futures.

The 2021 Wheelwright Prize is juried by: David Brown, professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago School of Architecture; David Hartt, Carrafiell assistant professor in fine arts at the University of Pennsylvania Weitzman School of Design; Mark Lee, chair of the Department of Architecture at Harvard GSD; Megan Panzano, assistant professor of architecture at Harvard GSD; Sumayya Vally, founder and principal of Counterspace Studio; and Sarah M. Whiting, dean and Josep Lluís Sert professor of architecture at Harvard GSD.

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