Architect Jose M. Ahedo of Studio Ahedo from Barcelona was named as the 2014 recipient of the Wheelwright Prize. For its second year as an open international competition, the Harvard Graduate School of Design awards the $100,000 travel fellowship to an early-career architect whose proposal best conveys original, scholarly, and professional design.
The competition pool started with nearly 200 applications from 46 countries and then to seven finalists who were announced in April. After a second stage of deliberation, the jury selected Ahedo and his proposal, "Domesticated Grounds: Design and Domesticity Within Animal Farming Systems", which focuses on the architectural and organizational models of animal farming. The grant will fund Ahedo's research for the next two years.
"Ahedo was born and raised on a dairy farm in Vizcaya, Spain. He received his BArch in 2005 from the Escola Tècnica Superior d’Arquitectura de la Universitat de Catalunya (ESARQ-UIC) in Barcelona, and an MArch II from Harvard University GSD in 2011.
In 2010, he established StudioAhedo in Barcelona and immediately began designing Blanca, a dairy farm in the Pyrenees. The project encompasses 13 buildings, including animal and dairy production facilities, a laboratory, an education center, and more. Ahedo developed Blanca’s site planning, landscape design, architecture and interior design, furniture, and branding."
"Noting that livestock is a significant cause of land degradation, greenhouse gas emissions, social friction, and problematic development worldwide, Ahedo proposes [in Domesticated Grounds: Design and Domesticity Within Animal Farming Systems] to research a wide range of practices, from industrial operations driven by 'techno-capitalist policies' to informal or vernacular farms that have grown out of traditions. 'These two distinct production modes coexist in both developed and developing countries,' Ahedo writes in his essay, observing that neither responds adequately to the innumerable environmental and social challenges related to animal farming today."
"The jury praised Ahedo’s proposal for its integrated approach to a broad range of issues, and for his clarity in identifying architecture and design’s potential to shape more sustainable models of production for a global mega-industry. He proposes to travel to Taranaki, New Zealand, the premier milk exporter in the world; Ikhbulag and Orhkon Valleys, Mongolia, where half the population depends on livestock production; Schleswig-Holstein, Germany, which has one of the longest histories of animal farming and where mid-sized family farms have prevailed; Hainan, China, an island with hundreds of aquatic farms (hatcheries); and various centers and companies around the world producing agricultural research."
"His current work includes a housing project in Tudela (Navarra, Spain), offices for Semex Italy, a bovine genetics company in Lodi (near Milan), and integrated farming software in collaboration with Tecnozoo spain. He worked previously at the firms lopez-rivera Arquitectes, asZ arquitectes, and EQUIP Claramunt, all in Barcelona. Between 2009 and 2010, he collaborated with MOS Office in New York, and worked on MOS’ winning entry in the MoMA/ps1’s Young Architects program. He is currently collaborating with Ignacio G. Galan on an installation that will be presented as part of rem Koolhaas’ Fundamentals, at the 14th International Architecture exhibition at the Venice Biennale."
The 2014 Wheelwright Prize jury featured GSD Dean Mohsen Mostafavi; GSD professors; and architects Jorge Silvetti, Iñaki Abalos, and Silvia Benedito; Museum of Modern Art architecture curator Pedro Gadanho; New York architect Linda Pollak of Marpillero Pollak; and Shohei Shigematsu, partner of OMA and its New York office director.
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