Harvard University's Graduate School of Design has awarded its coveted Wheelwright Prize for 2019 to Polish architect Aleksandra Jaeschke. Established in 1935, the $100,000 architectural grant supports travel-based research and investigative approaches to contemporary design.
A Harvard GSD graduate, Jaeschke was selected by a seven person jury for her proposal UNDER WRAPS: Architecture and Culture of Greenhouses a project born from her long-term fascination with horticultural operations and the resulting relationships between plants and humans. Prior work of hers has explored sustainability as a building-scale issue; and looked at how building regulations and new technologies shape environmentally-driven design.
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Currently an Assistant Professor of Architecture and Sustainable Design at The University of Texas at Austin, Jaeschke will spend the next two years traveling to countries like Taiwan, Morocco, and Israel, looking at regions with a high concentration of greenhouse agriculture. There, she will catalog and compare various greenhouse types, both rural and urban, from farm-hoop houses to botanical conservatories.
Her goal is to investigate the impact of spatial arrangements and speculate about strategies for a more equitable “greenhouse ruralism” and an engaged “urban (horti)culture.” She hopes her research will help empower farmers and activate urban dwellers.
“With her pioneering work on greenhouses, Aleksandra Jaeschke reasserts that the field of architecture can and should continue to engage deeply with nature, with horticulture, and with ruralism and the countryside,” said Mohsen Mostafavi, Dean and Alexander and Wiley Professor of Design, Harvard GSD.
Jaeschke follows 2018 Wheelwright Prize winner Aude-Line Dulière, whose work examines construction methods and supply systems in the global film industry. Other previous winners include Samuel Bravo, who looked at the traditional architectures and informal settlements of the Amazon, and MAIO's Anna Puigjaner, who looked at collective housing models across the globe.
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