Harvard GSD announces 2016 Wheelwright Prize cycle

The Harvard Graduate School of Design is pleased to announce the fourth round of the Wheelwright Prize, an open international competition that awards $100,000 to a talented early-career architect to support travel-based research. The 2016 Wheelwright Prize is now accepting applications; the deadline for submissions is February 8, 2016. This annual prize is dedicated to fostering new forms of architectural research informed by cross-cultural engagement.

The Wheelwright Prize is open to emerging architects practicing anywhere in the world. The primary eligibility requirement is that applicants must have received a degree from a professionally accredited architecture program in the past 15 years (after 2001). An affiliation to the GSD is not required. Applicants are asked to submit a portfolio, a research proposal, and a travel itinerary that takes them outside their country of residence.  

In 2013, Harvard GSD revamped the Arthur W. Wheelwright Traveling Fellowship, which was established in 1935 in memory of Wheelwright, Class of 1887. Intended to encourage the study of architecture outside the United States at a time when international travel was difficult, the award was available only to GSD alumni; past fellows have included Paul Rudolph, Eliot Noyes, William Wurster, Christopher Tunnard, I. M. Pei, Farès el-Dahdah, Adele Santos, and Linda Pollak.

“We are pleased to see the enormous response to the prize over the past three years,” remarked Harvard GSD Dean Mohsen Mostafavi. “Having reviewed hundreds of applications from every corner of the globe, it’s clear that, worldwide, there is an emerging generation of architects with a strong desire to push the boundaries of this profession, to consider political, social, cultural, and environmental issues. Beyond giving a boost to talented young architects, the Wheelwright Prize is helping to define new territories of concern for the profession.”

Winners of the revamped prize are: 2015, Erik L’Heureux, Singapore (BArch 1996, Washington University in St. Louis, and MArch 2000, Princeton University), for his proposal to study architecture in five dense cities in the equatorial zone; 2014, Jose M. Ahedo, Barcelona (BArch 2005, Escola Tècnica Superior d’Arquitectura de la Universitat de Catalunya), for his research on the architecture and organization of structures related to animal farming; and 2013, Gia Wolff, Brooklyn (MArch 2008, Harvard GSD), for her study of the spectacular, temporary, urban-scale float structures that transform Rio de Janeiro during carnival. Wolff presented her research as part of the GSD’s Spring 2015 lecture series, along with the 2015 finalists L’Heureux, Malkit Shoshan, and Quynh Vantu. (Click here for a link to Wolff’s lecture, and here to view the finalists’ presentations.) 

An international jury will be announced in January 2016. In addition to Wheelwright Prize Organizing Committee members Dean Mostafavi, Professors K. Michael Hays and Jorge Silvetti, previous juries included the following: Craig Evan Barton, Preston Scott Cohen, Sarah Herda, and Elisa Silva (2015 Jury); Iñaki Ábalos, Sílvia Benedito, Pedro Gadanho, Linda Pollak, and Shohei Shigematsu (2014 Jury); Yung Ho Chang, Farès el-Dahdah, Farshid Moussavi, and Zoe Ryan (2013 Jury). 

Applicants will be judged on the quality of their design work, scholarly accomplishments, originality or persuasiveness of the research proposal, and evidence of ability to fulfill the proposed project. Applications are accepted online only, at A winner will be named in April 2016.

For more information, email Cathy Lang Ho at