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Wheelwright Prize Finalists at the Harvard GSD

  • Room 124, Gund Hall 48 Quincy Street Cambridge, MA, 02138 United States (map)

Harvard University Graduate School of Design is pleased to announce the finalists of the 2016 Wheelwright Prize, a $100,000 grant awarded annually to a single architect to support travel-based architectural research. Now in its fourth year as an open international competition, the prize originated as a traveling fellowship, established in 1935 in memory of GSD alumnus Arthur C. Wheelwright. For 75 years, the prize was offered to the school’s top graduates, including Paul Rudolph, Eliot Noyes, William Wurster, and I. M. Pei. In 2013, the GSD transformed the prize into a platform to promote new forms of architectural research informed by cross-cultural engagement.

This year, the Wheelwright Prize jury reviewed nearly 200 applications from 45 countries and selected four finalists, who hail from Italy, Spain, and Chile. The finalists have been invited to the GSD to present their work and research proposals:


Samuel Bravo — Samuel Bravo Arquitecto, Santiago, Chile
BArch 2009, Pontifical Catholic University of Chile

Samuel Bravo is a licensed architect in Chile. He has worked in a variety of contexts in South America, from Patagonia to the Amazon, developing the relationship between traditional building practices and contemporary architectural production. He is a founding member of Tarapacá Project (2005–11), an initiative aimed at reconstructing heritage areas damaged by earthquakes. The initiative, a collaboration with architect Bernadette Devilat, was launched after the 2005 earthquake in northern Chile and addressed issues such as preservation, vernacular building practices, and public housing policies. Since 2009, he has been working with the Shipibo, an indigenous community of San Francisco de Yarinacocha in the Amazon rainforest in Peru. He collaborated with Sandra Iturriaga on the design of the Ani Nii Shöbo Healing Center (2009–12), a shamanic lodge and retreat, and the Nii Juinti traditional school (2014) for Shipibo children. His work has been exhibited in the 16th and 17th Architectural Biennale in Santiago de Chile and the 12th International Architecture Exhibition at the Venice Biennale (2010), and has been published in ARQ, CA, and Casabella. Since 2012, Bravo has taught architectural design as assistant professor at Pontifical Catholic University of Chile. 

Wheelwright proposal: Cultural Frictions: A Transference, From Traditional Architecture to Contemporary Production


Matilde Cassani — Milan, Italy
BArch 2005, Politecnico di Milano; Postgraduate degree 2011, Architecture and Urban Culture, Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya; Ph.D. 2013, Spatial Planning and Urban Development, Politecnico di Milano

Matilde Cassani directs her own practice in Milan, working in architecture, art, installation design, and exhibition curation. After receiving her architecture degree from the Politecnico di Milano, she worked in Sri Lanka as a consultant for the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Technische Zusammenarbeit (GTZ), a German organization dedicated to international technical cooperation for sustainable development. Her work focused on post-tsunami reconstruction and launched her interest in the spatial implications of cultural pluralism in the contemporary Western urban context, which defines her practice today. Many of her projects deal with the varied uses and experiences of public places, such as Sacred Spaces in Profane Buildings at Storefront for Art and Architecture in New York in 2012, an exhibition that explored the impact of religious diversity on the contemporary city; and Countryside Worship, her contribution to the Monditalia, a section in the 14th Venice Architecture Biennale (2014), large lenticular prints with alternating views of the Italian countryside, empty and full of worshippers. The piece was recently acquired by the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. Her work has been published in Architectural Review, Domus, Abitare, Arqa, Arkitecktur, and MONU. She has been an artist-in-residence at Akademie Schloss Solitude in Stuttgart (2011) and at the Headlands Center for the Arts in Marin, California. She has taken part in many international conferences and lectured in various international Universities such as Columbia University in New York and L’Ecole Spéciale d’Architecture in Paris. Cassani currently teaches at the Politecnico di Milano, her alma mater, and at the Domus Academy. 

Wheelwright proposal: Once in a Lifetime: The Architecture of Ritual in Pilgrimage Sites


Pier Paolo Tamburelli — baukuh architects, Milan and Genoa
MArch 2002, University of Genoa; Advanced MArch 2004, The Berlage Institute

Pier Paolo Tamburelli is the founder, along with Paolo Carpi, Silvia Lupi, Vittorio Pizzigoni, Giacomo Summa, and Andrea Zanderigo, of the firm baukuh. Established in 2004, the firm has realized a wide range of work, including public and mixed-use buildings, historic renovations, masterplans, and exhibition designs. Some key projects include the library for the Genoa Chamber of Trade (2009), the Italian Pavilion for the Shanghai Expo (2010), and an apartment block in Tirana, Albania. baukuh took part in the Rotterdam Biennale (2007 and 2011), Istanbul Biennial (2012), Venice Architecture Biennale (2008 and 2012), and Chicago Architecture Biennial (2015), and was part of the research group for the Dutch National History Museum (2011). Tamburelli worked with Domus (2004–07) and is one of the founders and editors of the architectural magazine San Rocco and of the website The Tomorrow. He has lectured at a number of schools and cultural institutions, including the Architectural Association London, University of California at Berkeley, Cornell University, EPFL Lausanne, ETSAM Madrid, ETHZ Zurich, Kunsthal Rotterdam, MAXXI Rome, Tongji University Shanghai, and Triennale di Milano. Tamburelli has taught at the PUSA Aleppo, the Berlage Institute Rotterdam, and University of Illinois at Chicago. He is currently a visiting professor at the Politecnico di Milano.

Wheelwright proposal: Wonders of the Modern World


Anna Puigjaner — MAIO, Barcelona
BArch 2004, MArch 2008, and Ph.D. 2014, Escola Tècnica Superior d’Architecture de Barcelona-Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya (ETSAB-UPC)

Anna Puigjaner is the cofounder of MAIO, an architectural office in Barcelona with an interest in flexible systems, including notions such as variation, ephemerality, and ad hocism. Founded in 2005 with partners Maria Charneco, Alfredo Lérida, and Guillermo López, MAIO was a finalist in the MoMA PS1 Young Architects Program in 2014 and participated in the 2015 Chicago Architecture Biennial with an installation called Floating, a series of inflated columns that traveled throughout the space. It drew from previous works such as Floating: Urban Activator (Barcelona, 2011) and Urban Space System (Barcelona, 2014), which utilized flexible devices to delineate new gathering spots or “monuments” in public spaces. The firm’s work has been published in magazines such as Domus, AIT, Volume, Blueprint, A10, and Detail. Its awards include FAD Award 2015 and 2013, Arquia/Proxima Award 2014, XII BEAU, and New Working Fields Award CSCAE 2009. Puigjaner’s personal work explores the potentiality of spatial orders, constraints, rules, and instructions in between the domestic and the urban sphere. She is currently the editorial director of architectural magazine Quaderns d’Arquitectura i Urbanisme, and teaches architecture at her alma mater, the Escola Tècnica Superior d’Architecture de Barcelona-Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya, and the Massana School of Design. She has also lectured at Columbia University GSAPP, Yale University, and Universidade de Lisboa, among other universities. 

Wheelwright proposal: Kitchenless City: Architectural Systems for Social Welfare


More information: Wheelwright Prize Website

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Wheelwright Prize - Graduate School of Design

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