Jose Ahedo presents Wheelwright Prize Lecture as GSD announces 2017 prize cycle

Jose Ahedo, 2014 winner of the Harvard Graduate School of Design’s Wheelwright Prize, returned to the GSD to present the annual Wheelwright Prize Lecture on November 17, showcasing highlights from his winning project “Domesticated Grounds: Design and Domesticity Within Animal Farming Systems.” Ahedo’s lecture also opened the Wheelwright Prize’s 2017 cycle.

The Wheelwright Prize is a GSD tradition, dedicated to fostering new forms of architectural research informed by cross-cultural engagement. The open, international competition awards $100,000 to a talented early-career architect to support travel-based research. Past fellows include Paul Rudolph, Eliot Noyes, William Wurster, Christopher Tunnard, I. M. Pei, John Haro, Klaus Herdeg, Farès el-Dahdah, Adele Santos, and Linda Pollak.

Since winning the prize in 2014, Ahedo has traveled to remote rural areas in eight countries on four continents, logging more than 8,500 miles of travel across China, India, Bolivia, New Zealand, Germany, Paraguay, Mongolia, and the Azores Islands. The goal of his investigation is to demystify the current plight of various farming communities and seek opportunities for designers to take action. Along the way, he has met with some two hundred families, scientists, local governments, policy makers, and others involved in animal farming. See a gallery of select images from Ahedo’s travels below.


As Ahedo noted during his talk, his project raises questions regarding our cultural and architectural heritage, infrastructural and territorial policies, landscape design, technological advancements, and gender and social issues associated with animal production.

Barcelona-based Ahedo was born and raised on a dairy farm in rural Spain. In 2010, he established StudioAhedo in Barcelona and immediately began designing Blanca, a dairy farm in the Pyrenees. Ahedo developed Blanca’s site planning, landscape design, architecture and interior design, furniture, and branding. His Wheelwright project is thus couched in an intimate context.

Most recently, the GSD awarded the Wheelwright Prize to Barcelona-based architect Anna Puigjaner for her proposal to study collective housing models in Russia, Brazil, Sweden, China, Korea, and India, and their varied approaches to organizing domestic spaces. She followed previous winners Erik L’Heureux (2015), who is currently studying architecture in five dense cities in the equatorial zone, and Gia Wolff (2013), who researched the spectacular, temporary, urban-scale float structures that transform Rio de Janeiro during Carnival.

The 2017 Wheelwright Prize is now accepting applications, with a deadline of January 31, 2017. An international jury will be announced in January 2017. Standing members of the Wheelwright Prize Organizing Committee include Dean Mostafavi and Professors K. Michael Hays. Applications are accepted online only. Finalists for the 2017 prize will be invited to present at the GSD in April 2017, and a winner will named shortly thereafter.

To learn more, please visit the Wheelwright Prize website. You may also view presentations from the 2016 prize finalists and the Wheelwright Prize Lecture from 2013 winner Gia Wolff (MArch ’08) via the GSD’s YouTube channel.