Four Finalists Compete for the Harvard GSD’s $100K Wheelwright Prize

Architecture Awards Professional Practice
The four Wheelwright Prize finalists. From left to right: Samuel Bravo, Matilde Cassani, Pier Paolo Tamburelli, Anna Puigjaner (Courtesy Harvard Graduate School of Design)

The four Wheelwright finalists. From left to right: Samuel Bravo, Matilde Cassani, Pier Paolo Tamburelli, Anna Puigjaner (Courtesy Harvard Graduate School of Design)

There are four finalists competing for the Harvard University Graduate School of Design (GSD) international travel fellowship this year. For the uninitiated, the Wheelwright Prize is almost like a Fulbright research grant, but for young international architects. Aimed at architecture graduates of the past 15 years, the winner will receive a sweet deal: they’ll take home $100,000 towards research outside of the United States (or if living internationally, outside their country of residence). Additionally, there are opportunities to lecture at the Harvard GSD and publish research in a GSD publication.

The four finalists are presenting their work at the Harvard GSD this April 20th. Last year’s award went to Erik L’Heureux, an architect and assistant professor based in Singapore. His proposal centered on studying architecture in equatorial zone cities like Jakarta and São Paolo.

The prize was founded in 1935 in memory of Arthur W. Wheelwright, and originally awarded to top graduates of Harvard’s GSD program. The prize opened up four years ago to young international architects beyond GSD. The prize has gone to a roster of notables that include I. M. Pei, Paul Rudolph, and Eliot Noyes.

Here is a rundown of the four finalists and images of their past work. The GSD selected the four finalists from a pool of over 200 entrants from 45 countries.

Samuel Bravo

Santiago, Chile–based architect Samuel Bravo’s Ani Nii Shobo lodge, nature reserve, and shamanic healing center in Ucayali, Péru (2009). (Courtesy Samuel Bravo.)

Santiago, Chile–based architect Samuel Bravo’s Ani Nii Shobo lodge, nature reserve, and shamanic healing center in Ucayali, Péru (2009). (Courtesy Samuel Bravo.)

Santiago, Chile–based architect Samuel Bravo’s Nii Juinti school for teaching the traditional medicine of the Shipibo people, in the Ucayali River basin in the Peruvian Amazon (2015). (Courtesy Samuel Bravo)

Santiago, Chile–based architect Samuel Bravo’s Nii Juinti school for teaching the traditional medicine of the Shipibo people, in the Ucayali River basin in the Peruvian Amazon (2015). (Courtesy Samuel Bravo)

Chilean architect and assistant professor Samuel Bravo has a background working on earthquake reconstruction in historic areas in South America. His proposal is titled Cultural Frictions: A Transference, From Traditional Architecture to Contemporary Production.

Matilde Cassani

Milan architect Matilde Cassani’s Background Bahrain, her design of the Bahrain Pavilion for the 2012 Venice Architecture Biennale. (Courtesy Giovanna Silva)

Milan architect Matilde Cassani’s Background Bahrain—which she designed with Francesco Librizzi and Stefano Tropea—was featured in the Bahrain Pavilion for the 2012 Venice Architecture Biennale. (Courtesy Giovanna Silva)

Matilde Cassani’s Spiritual Devices (2012) contains the “minimum sacred features” needed for adherents of different religions to pray in the contemporary city. The installation appeared in Berlin and New York. (Courtesy Ivan Sarfatti)

Matilde Cassani’s Spiritual Devices (2012) contains the “minimum sacred features” needed for adherents of different religions to pray in the contemporary city. The installation appeared in Berlin and New York. (Courtesy Ivan Sarfatti)

Architect, designer, and curator, Matilde Cassani, from Milan, has worked on sustainable developments in Germany and rebuilding after tsunamis. Her studies have focused on public space, migrant communities, and modern sacred/religious spaces. Her proposal is titled Once in a Lifetime: The Architecture of Ritual in Pilgrimage Sites.

Anna Puigjaner

Floating was an installation of inflated columns installed at the Chicago Cultural Center for the Chicago Architecture Biennial, 2015, designed by MAIO , a Barcelona firm cofounded by Anna Puigjaner. (Courtesy David Schalliol)

Floating was an installation of inflated columns located within the Chicago Cultural Center for the Chicago Architecture Biennial, 2015, designed by MAIO, a Barcelona firm cofounded by Anna Puigjaner. (Courtesy David Schalliol)

Species of Spaces (Museu d’Art Contemporani de Barcelona, 2015), an exhibition display system by MAIO, a Barcelona firm cofounded by Anna Puigjaner. (Courtesy José Hevia)

Species of Spaces (Museu d’Art Contemporani de Barcelona, 2015), an exhibition display system by MAIO, a Barcelona firm cofounded by Anna Puigjaner. (Courtesy José Hevia)

Barcelona-based architect Anna Puigjaner (MAIO) focuses on the impacts of flexibility in architecture and design. Her past work has explored adaptable, site-specific installations, as well as the connections and tensions between urban and domestic life. Her proposal is titled Kitchenless City: Architectural Systems for Social Welfare.

Pier Paolo Tamburelli

The Alesund Church is the competition-winning design for a site in Norway (2009), by baukuh, a Milan-based firm cofounded by Pier Paolo Tamburelli. (Courtesy Stefan Graziani.)

The Alesund Church is the competition-winning design for a site in Norway (2009), by baukuh, a Milan-based firm cofounded by Pier Paolo Tamburelli. (Courtesy Stefan Graziani.)

House of Memory (Milan, 2015), designed by baukuh, a Milan-based firm cofounded by Pier Paolo Tamburelli. (Courtesy Stefan Graziani.)

House of Memory (Milan, 2015), designed by baukuh, a Milan-based firm cofounded by Pier Paolo Tamburelli. (Courtesy Stefan Graziani.)

The fourth finalist is architect and visiting professor Pier Paolo Tamburelli, cofounder of baukuh architects (based in both Genoa and Milan). He has worked on mixed-use and public buildings, as well as masterplans and historic renovations. His proposal is titled Wonders of the Modern World.

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