Mohsen Mostafavi, Dean of Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design (GSD), is pleased to announce that Jose M. Ahedo, an architect based in Barcelona, Spain, is the winner of the 2014 Wheelwright Prize, a 100,000 USD traveling fellowship aimed at fostering investigative approaches to contemporary design. Born in Vizcaya, Spain, in 1980, Ahedo received a 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.
The Wheelwright Prize is now in its second year as an open international competition for early career architects. This year, the prize received nearly 200 applications from 46 countries, including the Bahamas, Brazil, Colombia, Ghana, Greece, India, Kazakhstan, Nigeria, New Zealand, Turkey, and more. The 2014 Wheelwright Prize jury—Mostafavi, Iñaki Abalos, Silvia Benedito, Pedro Gadanho, Linda Pollak, Shohei Shigematsu, and Jorge Silvetti—commended the overall high quality and diversity of the submissions, which reflected an interest in a broad range of spatial, technological, urban, social, and political issues.
In April, the jury awarded special mention to seven finalists, hailing from Barcelona, London, Zagreb, Chicago, Tokyo, and Ho Chi Minh City (see below for details on the finalists). 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. Noting that livestock is a significant cause of land degradation, greenhouse gas emissions, and social friction worldwide, Ahedo proposes 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 pressing contemporary issues, and for his clarity in identifying architecture and design’s potential to shape sustainable alternatives to current practices. 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. The 100,000 USD grant will fund Ahedo’s research over the next two years.
Ahedo was born and raised on a dairy farm. In 2010, he established StudioAhedo in Barcelona and immediately began working on 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. His current work includes a housing project in Tudela (Navarra, Spain), an office building for Semex Canada, 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’s winning entry in the MoMA/PS1’s Young Architects Program.
Wheelwright Prize 2014 Finalists (for extended bios on the finalists, please go to wheelwrightprize.org):
– Ana Dana Beros, MArch 2007, University of Zagreb: independent architect, curator, editor, and cofounder of ARCHIsquad (Zagreb, Croatia)
– Alison Crawshaw, MArch 2004, Royal College of Art: Founder of Alison Crawshaw Architecture (London)
– Masaaki Iwamoto, Master of Engineering 2008, University of Tokyo: Partner of Vo Trong Nghia Architects (Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam)
– Jimenez Lai, MArch 2007, University of Toronto: Principal of Bureau Spectacular and assistant architecture professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago (Chicago)
– Sean Lally, MArch 2002, University of California, Los Angeles: Founder of the firm Weathers and assistant architecture professor at the University of Illinois in Chicago (Chicago)
– Kaz Yoneda, MArch II 2011, Harvard GSD: Founder of the Architecture and Space Design Unit at Takram Design Engineering (Tokyo)
For additional information, winner portrait, winner’s or finalists’ portfolio images, jury quotes, and more, please contact [email protected].
Media handles: @HarvardGSD, @CathyLangHo, #WheelwrightPrize.