Three emerging designers have been selected for the final round of the 2020 Wheelwright Prize. Organized annually by the Harvard Graduate School of Design, the program aims to support "cross-cultural engagement and an extended period of expansive design research" through a $100,000 grant for early-career architects.
Picked from a field of nearly 170 applicants, the jury chose Daniel Fernández Pascual, Bryony Roberts, and Gustavo Utrabo as this year's finalists.
Daniel Fernández Pascual
Proposal: “Being Shellfish: The Architecture of Intertidal Cohabitation”
Daniel Fernández Pascual holds a Master of Architecture from ETSA Madrid, a Master of Science in Urban Design from TU Berlin and Tongji University Shanghai, and a PhD from the Centre for Research Architecture, Goldsmiths, University of London. His thesis Financial Littorals: The Architecture of Profit Margins and Ambiguous Lands investigated the spatial construction of the Spanish shoreline to track the ripple effects of the 2007-2008 real estate crisis. In 2013 he co-founded Cooking Sections with Alon Schwabe. Based in London, their work explores systems that organize the world through food. Using installation, performance, mapping and video, their research-based practice operates within the overlapping boundaries of architecture, visual culture, and ecology.
Since 2015 Cooking Sections have worked on multiple iterations of the long-term site-specific CLIMAVORE project, exploring how to eat as humans change climates. In 2016 they opened The Empire Remains Shop, a platform to critically speculate on the implications of selling the remains of Empire today. The eponymous book about the project was published by Columbia Books on Architecture and the City in 2018. Cooking Sections was part of the exhibition at the U.S. Pavilion in the 2014 Venice Architecture Biennale. Their work has also been exhibited widely; upcoming solo exhibitions will take place at Tate Britain and SALT Istanbul, as well as a new commission for P.5 New Orleans Triennial.
In 2019, Cooking Sections won the Future Generation Special Art Prize and were shortlisted for the Visible Award for socially-engaged practices. Cooking Sections currently lead a studio unit investigating critical questions around refuse and the metabolization of the built environment at the School of Architecture, Royal College of Art, London.
With “Being Shellfish,” Fernández Pascual posits that, as awareness about the environmental footprint of construction increases, the intertidal zone can offer more responsive ways to inhabit the planet and provide regenerative materials. Seaweeds and shellfish are key sources of nutrients and have been used in construction over millennia, he observes. By looking at waste shells and seaweed material cultures in Chile, Taiwan, China, Turkey, Japan, Zanzibar, Denmark, and New Zealand, “Being Shellfish” continues Fernández Pascual’s ongoing investigation on ecosocial coastal innovations on the intertidal zone.
Proposal: “The Architecture of Childcare: A Global Study of Experimental Models”
Bryony Roberts is an architectural designer and scholar. Her practice Bryony Roberts Studio, based in New York, integrates methods from architecture, art, and preservation to address complex social conditions and urban change. The practice has been awarded the Architectural League Prize and New Practices New York from AIA New York as well as support from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Graham Foundation, the MacDowell Colony, and the American Academy in Rome, where Roberts was awarded the Rome Prize for 2015-2016. In tandem with her design practice, Roberts instigates research and publication projects about designing in response to social and cultural histories. She guest-edited the recent volume Log 48: Expanding Modes of Practice, edited the book Tabula Plena: Forms of Urban Preservation published by Lars Müller Publishers, and co-guest-edited Log 31: New Ancients. She has also published her research in Harvard Design Magazine, Praxis, Future Anterior, and Architectural Record.
Roberts earned her Bachelor of Arts at Yale University and her Master of Architecture at the Princeton School of Architecture, where she was awarded the Suzanne Kolarik Underwood Thesis Prize and the Henry Adams AIA Medal. She teaches architecture and preservation at the Columbia University Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation in New York.
With “The Architecture of Childcare,” Roberts proposes an analysis of experimental models of care that hybridize programs to improve conditions for children, families, and care workers: childcare plus housing, childcare plus workplace, and childcare plus landscape. Comparing projects in Scandinavia, the UK, the US, Japan, and Southeast Asia through analytical drawings and contextual research, Roberts seeks to yield a global catalogue of new typologies.
Proposal: “Rethinking Nature, Assembling Matter”
Born in Curitiba, Brazil, Utrabo received a degree in architecture and urbanism from the Federal University of Paraná in Curitiba, Brazil, in 2010. In 2014, he also completed a specialization course in National History and Literature from UTFPR. Through his studio, Estúdio Gustavo Utrabo, he intends to expand the architecture field, connect people, and imagine the future through sustainable and inclusive approaches. These approaches come together in an extensive portfolio that has earned significant awards as the RIBA International Prize (2018), RIBA International Emerging Architect (2018), finalist status in Harvard GSD’s 2018 Wheelwright Prize, and a “Highly Commended” award in the Architectural Review Emerging Architecture Awards (2019), among others. Utrabo has contributed to lectures and other actions in institutions including IIT Chicago, University of Hong Kong, Future Architecture Platform at MAO museum in Ljubljana, RIBA London, and FAU-USP in São Paulo, among others. Utrabo recently served as a visiting professor in the Master of Arts program at the University of Hong Kong.
Eyeing intersections between culture, nature, and economics, especially amid ongoing climate change,
Utrabo proposes an investigation into merging nature and culture through matter. With “Rethinking
Nature, Assembling Matter,” he seeks an understanding of how wood, from its natural, raw status to
its final use in architecture, can be used as a primordial resource to compose a cultural manifestation.
The 2020 Wheelwright Prize jury included Harvard GSD Dean, Sarah M. Whiting; the school's Chair of the Department of Architecture, Mark Lee; Co-Founder of 6a Architects, Tom Emerson; Belgian architect Wonne Ickx; and 2016 Wheelwright Prize Winner, Anna Puigjaner.
The final prize winner will be announced in late April.
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