Wheelwright Prize Lecture: Jose Ahedo, “Domesticated Grounds”

Blanca Pyrenees, Education Center (Els Hostalets de Tost, Spain, 2013). Image Courtesy of Wheelwright Prize.

Blanca Pyrenees, Education Center (Els Hostalets de Tost, Spain, 2013). Image Courtesy of Wheelwright Prize.

Jose Ahedo established his own firm, Studio Ahedo, in 2010. His first completed project is Blanca, a dairy complex of thirteen buildings in the Pyrenees, including animal facilities, research labs, and an education center. Ahedo is also designing residential projects and he has consulted on graphic design, branding, and software development. In his lecture, he will speak about his project “Domesticated Grounds: Design and Domesticity Within Animal Farming Systems,” for which he won the 2014 Wheelwright Prize from Harvard GSD.

Based on travel to remote rural areas in eight countries on four continents, “Domesticated Grounds” explores design and domesticity surrounding animal-farming operations. His trip of more than 8,500 miles over dusty and muddy roads has raised questions regarding our cultural and architectural heritage, infrastructural and territorial policies, landscape design, technological advancements, and gender and social issues associated with animal production. The goal of the investigation, through visits and interviews with some two hundred families, university technicians, scientists, local governments, and policy makers, is to demystify the current plight of various farming communities and seek opportunities for designers to take action in one of the most asymmetrical economic sectors.

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