By Alexander Walter|
Monday, May 10, 2021
Harvard GSD's ninth annual Wheelwright Prize will be awarded to Germane Barnes, architect and Assistant Professor at the University of Miami School of Architecture. Today's announcement follows the reveal of four finalists for the $100,000 fellowship in April.
The fund will support Barnes' two-year research project Anatomical Transformations in Classical Architecture, an examination of Roman and Italian architecture through the lens of non-white constructors, studying "how spaces have been transformed through the material contributions of the African Diaspora while creating new architectural possibilities that emerge within investigations of Blackness."
"The past year has shown the world that marginalized communities offer more than a cursory look but a thorough excavation of their contributions and legacies," Barnes said. "As a Black architect, I have struggled with the absence of my identity in the profession, and there have been moments where I have questioned my talent and ideologies because they failed to gain recognition in prominent architecture circles. To believe that the only way to measure success is acceptance was a thought I had to exterminate. I am fortunate to have a support system that challenges these systems of exclusion because it gives importance and agency to Black spatial investigations. To be selected as the winner of this year’s Wheelwright Prize provides credibility that Blackness is a viable and critical discourse, and strengthens my resolve and confidence in my professional trajectory. My hope is that my win and the work that follows it will be a necessary accelerant to provide more opportunities and exposure to Black practitioners and researchers."
Barnes is also a 2021-2022 American Academy Rome Prize recipient and part of the Black Reconstruction Collective with its recent MoMA exhibition Reconstructions: Architecture and Blackness in America.
The list of winning Wheelwright Prize proposals in previous years includes "Being Shellfish: The Architecture of Intertidal Cohabitation" by Daniel Fernández Pascual, "UNDER WRAPS: Architecture and Culture of Greenhouses" by Aleksandra Jaeschke, "Crafted Images: Material Flows, Techniques, and Uses in Set Design Construction" by Aude-Line Dulière, and "Projectless: Architecture of Informal Settlements" by Samuel Bravo, to name a few.
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