HARVARD UNIVERSITY GRADUATE SCHOOL OF DESIGN ANNOUNCES THE WINNER OF THE 2015 WHEELWRIGHT PRIZE
Erik L’Heureux, Singapore-based American architect, wins $100,000 travel grant for his proposal Hot and Wet: The Equatorial City and the Architectures of Atmosphere
Cambridge, MA — Harvard University Graduate School of Design (GSD) is pleased to announce that Erik L’Heureux, an American architect based in Singapore, is the winner of the 2015 Wheelwright Prize, a $100,000 traveling fellowship aimed at fostering investigative approaches to contemporary design. L’Heureux, AIA, LEED AP BD+C, is currently an assistant professor at the National University of Singapore and leads his own practice, Pencil Office. His winning proposal, Hot and Wet: The Equatorial City and the Architectures of Atmosphere, focuses on the architecture of five dense cities in the equatorial zone—Jakarta, Indonesia; Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia; Pondicherry, India; Lagos, Nigeria; São Paulo, Brazil—where he will examine traditional and modern building strategies that mediate extreme climate conditions while addressing the mounting pressures of rapid urbanization and climate change.
The 2015 Wheelwright Prize Jury—K. Michael Hays (Jury Chair), Craig Evan Barton, Preston Scott Cohen, Sarah Herda, and Elisa Silva—praised L’Heureux’s accomplishments as an architect, educator, and author, as well as his research project which will study “modes of atmospheric calibration at the urban scale,” and architecture’s historic and potential response to a range of atmospheres (hot, wet, humid, breezy, artificial, hermetic, et cetera) while taking into account related social, political, and environmental concerns. The $100,000 grant will fund L’Heureux’s travel-based research over the next two years.
The Wheelwright Prize is now in its third year as an open international competition for early-career architects. The 2015 cycle received nearly 200 submissions from 51 countries, including Azerbaijan, Bosnia, Cuba, Egypt, Iran, Kazakhstan, Morocco, Poland, Sri Lanka, Ukraine, Zimbabwe, and more. This year, the jury honored three finalists—L’Heureux, Malkit Shoshan (Amsterdam) and Quynh Vantu (London)—inviting them to present their work and research proposals in a public event at Harvard GSD. (See below for more information about Shoshan and Vantu.) The finalists’ presentations, as well as a lecture by Gia Wolff, winner of the 2013 Wheelwright Prize, took place in Piper Auditorium at Harvard GSD on April 16, 2015, and are viewable at www.gsd.harvard.edu, under the Media section.
“We commend L’Heureux, Shoshan, and Vantu, who are each working impressively to broaden the definition and possibilities of architectural practice,” remarked K. Michael Hays, Eliot Noyes Professor of Architectural Theory and Associate Dean of Academic Affairs at Harvard GSD. “L’Heureux is an example of an architect with a strong practice who has developed a serious intellectual project that relates organically to his own work. His proposal is not just about technology and efficiency, but deals with the politicization of ecologies and economies in a complicated region and architecture’s complicity in difficult global issues.”
Born in Jamestown, Rhode Island, L’Heureux received his BA in Architecture from Washington University in 1996 and his MArch from Princeton University in 2000. He went on to work for several architecture firms in New York, including Perkins + Will, GW Architects, and Agrest and Gandelsonas, and taught at the Irwin S. Chanin School of Architecture at The Cooper Union. After stints as a visiting fellow and lecturer at the School of Design and Environment at the National University of Singapore (NUS) in 2003 and 2004, he decided to move to Singapore fulltime in 2007. In 2011 and 2012, he co-organized an international overseas architecture program between Washington University, the National University of Singapore, and Tongji University, researching the cities of Hong Kong, Shanghai, and Singapore. He has received a Teaching Excellence Award from NUS every year since 2008.
His practice, Pencil Office, has realized an assortment of projects, including residences, restaurants, offices, and commercial and retail spaces, primarily in Singapore. His project, A Simple Factory Building (completed in 2012), a 10,625-square-foot structure wrapped in a geometrically sophisticated sun-shielding veil, earned top honors in the 2013 World Architecture Festival (WAF) Category Design Award. He is also the recipient of the FuturArc Green Leadership Architecture Merit Award (2013), AIA New York City Design Merit Award (2012), and two AIA New York State Design Awards (2007 and 2009).
In addition to teaching and practice, L’Heureux is an active writer and curator. He co-curated and designed the exhibition 1,000 Singapores: A Model of the Compact City for the Singapore Pavilion at the 12th International Architecture Exhibition at the Venice Biennale (2010), which was recognized with the 2011 President’s Design Award from Singapore. Recently, he redesigned the exhibition for the Cité de l’Architecture et du Patrimoine in Paris, where it will appear from June to September 2015. His work and writings have been widely published and he is contributing editor to Architectural Review Asia Pacific. His book Deep Veils, about building enclosures in tropical climates, was released last year by ORO Editions.
Wheelwright Prize 2015 Finalists:
Malkit Shoshan is the founder of the Amsterdam-based architectural think tank FAST (Foundation for Achieving Seamless Territory). Her work explores the relationship between architecture, politics, and human rights. She is the author of the award-winning book Atlas of Conflict: Israel-Palestine (Uitgeverij 010, 2010) and coauthor of Village: One Land Two Systems and Platform Paradise (Damiani Editore, 2014). Her work has been published in Volume, Abitare, Frame, Haaretz, New York Times, and other publications. She has exhibited at the Venice Architecture Biennale (2002, 2008), the Netherlands Architecture Institute (2007), Experimenta (2011), and the Het Nieuwe Instituut (2014). Wheelwright proposal: Architecture and Conflict: Pre-Cycling the Compound
Quynh Vantu is a licensed architect and artist with a studio-based practice devoted to spatial experimentation. Drawing from her upbringing in the American South, Vantu is particularly interested in the notion of hospitality and thresholds of social interaction. She has received numerous awards and grants, including a Worldstudio AIGA Grant (2009), the Stewardson Kefee LeBrun Travel Grant-AIA NY (2009–10), and a Fulbright Fellowship (2012–13). She has been awarded several artist residencies, including at the Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts in Omaha, Nebraska (2010); Olafur Eliasson’s Institut für Raumexperimente in Berlin, Germany (2010–11); the Gyeonggi Creation Center in Dabudo, South Korea (2012); and the Norrköping AIR in Sweden (2014). Wheelwright proposal: On Movement: The Threshold and Its Shaping of Culture and Spatial Experience
For additional information, artwork, or jury comments, please contact Cathy Lang Ho at email@example.com
@HarvardGSD @CathyLangHo #WheelwrightPrize
General Information on the Wheelwright Prize
The Wheelwright Prize is a $100,000 travel-based research grant that is awarded annually to early-career architects who have demonstrated exceptional design talent, produced work of scholarly and professional merit, and who show promise for continued creative work.
Throughout its history, Harvard GSD has had a strong global outlook, attracting deans, faculty, and students from all over the world. Moreover, a mainstay of the Harvard GSD curriculum is its traveling studio, which emphasizes the acceptance of ideas and practices with a diversity of origins. The Wheelwright Prize extends the school’s ethos, encouraging a broad-minded approach to architecture that seeks inspiration from unexpected quarters.
The Wheelwright Prize is intended to spur innovative research during the early stage of an architect's professional career. Now open to applicants from all over the world—no affiliation to Harvard GSD required—the prize aims to foster new forms of research informed by cross-cultural engagement. "The idea is not just about travel—the act of going and seeing the world—but it is about binding the idea of geography to themes and issues that hold great potential relevance to contemporary practice," says Harvard GSD Dean Mohsen Mostafavi.
The winner will be selected via an open call for proposals and a rigorous review process. The winner of the Wheelwright Prize will receive:
- $100,000 cash prize to support travel and research-related costs
- invitation to lecture at Harvard GSD
- possibility to publish research in a Harvard GSD publication
The Wheelwright Prize organizing committee includes Harvard GSD Dean Mohsen Mostafavi, Professors K. Michael Hays and Jorge Silvetti, and Assistant Dean Benjamin Prosky.
Background on the Arthur W. Wheelwright Traveling Fellowship
Established in 1935 in memory of Arthur W. Wheelwright, Class of 1887, this traveling fellowship has afforded extraordinary experiences for generations of Harvard GSD alumni. The fellowship was conceived at a time when foreign travel was out of reach for many. The prize enabled several early Wheelwright fellows—including Paul Rudolph (1937–38), Eliot Noyes (1939–40), William Wurster (1942–43), and I. M. Pei (1950–51)—to embark on expeditions that largely followed the tradition of the Grand European Tour.
See a full list of past winners of the Arthur W. Wheelwright Traveling Fellowship.
- Applicant must have graduated from a professionally accredited architecture degree program in the past 15 years. (Graduates prior to 2000 are ineligible.) Holders of multiple degrees may apply, provided they received their professional degrees between 2000 and March 2014. Applicants need not be registered or licensed.
- Applicants may not have received the Arthur Wheelwright Traveling Fellowship previously.
- Winners of the Wheelwright Prize may not hold other fellowships concurrently.
- The Wheelwright Prize is available to individual entrants only; teams or firms will not be considered.
- Current Harvard GSD faculty, instructors, and staff are not eligible.
- Winners are expected to spend a minimum of 6 months (cumulative) outside of their countries of residence in order to conduct their proposed research.
- Proposed research itineraries must not include sites in the United States. Research and travel must commence within 12 months of receiving the Wheelwright Prize and must be completed within two years of receiving the prize.
- The Wheelwright Prize is intended for independent study and may not be applied to university tuition. However, the grant may be applied to fees for workshops and conferences.
The application process is entirely online. No submissions will be accepted by mail. The 2016 Wheelwright Prize will begin accepting applications in December 2015. Deadline for submissions will be in January 2016. There is a $10 service fee to submit applications (charged by the online platform, not by Harvard GSD).
Applicants must submit the following. (Materials must be in English.)
- Current CV.
- Portfolio (maximum of 10 images); each uploaded file should contain a single image, not spreads of multiple images. Each image must be dated and captioned. The jury is looking for personal work that demonstrates design talent; student projects may be included. If work is collaborative and/or generated by a firm, the applicant’s contribution to the work must specifically involve conceptual development and/or design, and the applicant’s role must be precisely identified.
- The portfolio may be supplemented by published articles or research papers written by applicant. Authored works should appear in their original format, with publication name and date clearly indicated (maximum 3, each clipping to be saved as a separate PDF). If original publication is not in English, please attach an English-language summary (maximum 2,500 characters) as an addendum to each PDF. If the clipping exceeds 15 pages, please create a compact PDF (no more than 10 pages) including a cover, sample pages, and brief summary (2,500 characters) of the text.
- A written description of proposed research project (maximum 6,000 characters). Applicants should articulate the relevance of their project to contemporary practice, paying attention to the prize’s emphasis on research that holds potential impact on architectural production. The essay should describe the applicant’s experience or familiarity with his/her proposed subject, and his/her suitability to conduct the proposed research. The essay should also address the need for direct or hands-on research as opposed to archival research (i.e., justification for travel), and the benefits they anticipate for their personal and professional development. Applicants will also be asked to write a short summary (maximum 700 characters) of their proposal. This summary is a crucial text as it is the basis for the first phase of judging.
- A travel itinerary, including list of sites to visit, contacts, and other resources that support the proposed research agenda. Itineraries may include multiple destinations, in multiple countries, excluding the United States. A budget is not required.
- List of three professional references (full name, affiliation, contact information, and relationship to the applicant). Letters are not required at this time.
An international jury will select a winner based on the quality of the applicant’s portfolio, scholarly accomplishments, originality or persuasiveness of the research proposal, evidence of ability to fulfill the proposed project, and the potential for the Wheelwright Prize to impact his or her future development.
Mohsen Mostafavi is an architect, educator, and Dean of Harvard University GSD. His work focuses on modes and processes of urbanization and on the interface between technology and aesthetics. He serves on the steering committee of the Aga Khan Award for Architecture and the board of the Van Alen Institute, and consults on numerous international design and urban projects. His publications include Landscape Urbanism: A Manual for the Machinic Landscape (2004) and Ecological Urbanism (2010).
K. Michael Hays
K. Michael Hays is Eliot Noyes Professor of Architectural Theory and associate dean of Academic Affairs at Harvard GSD. Hays was the founder of the scholarly journal Assemblage and the first adjunct curator of architecture at the Whitney Museum of American Art (2000 to 2009). His research and scholarship focus on European modernism and critical theory. He is a member of the Wheelwright Prize organizing committee.
Jorge Silvetti is a principal of Machado Silvetti and the recipient of numerous awards, including ten Progressive Architecture Awards, and his writings have appeared in all the major international architectural publications. He has been teaching at Harvard GSD since 1975 and served as chair of the Department of Architecture from 1995 to 2002. He was a juror of the Pritzker Architecture Prize from 1996 to 2004. He is a member of the Wheelwright Prize organizing committee.
Craig Evan Barton
Craig Evan Barton is a Professor of Architecture and Urban Design and Director of The Design School at the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts at Arizona State University. He is the editor of Sites of Memory: Perspectives on Architecture and Race (2001) and has contributed to several anthologies including City of Memories (2004) and Writing Urbanism: A Design Reader (2008). His work has been included in a wide range of exhibitions, including an installation at Project Rowhouse in Houston (2001), which explored the use of the shotgun house as a memoir of African-American life and culture; and the traveling exhibition The Dresser Trunk Project (2008), about places of refuge for African-American travelers during the Jim Crow era.
Preston Scott Cohen
Preston Scott Cohen is the Gerald M. McCue Professor at Harvard GSD where he was Chair of Architecture from 2008–13. His Cambridge-based firm, Preston Scott Cohen, Inc., is recognized for the design of several important cultural and educational institutions. Cohen has received numerous awards and honors including induction as an academician at the National Academy of Art, Architect magazine’s Annual Design Review Award, five Progressive Architecture Awards, first prizes for seven international architectural competitions and an Academy Award in Architecture from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. Cohen is the author of Contested Symmetries and Other Predicaments in Architecture (2001) and coeditor with Erika Naginksi of The Return of Nature: Sustaining Architecture in the Face of Sustainability (2014). Lightfall, a publication accompanying a recent exhibition at the Harvard GSD Gallery on Cohen's design of the Tel Aviv Museum of Art, is forthcoming.
Sarah Herda is the Director of the Graham Foundation for Advanced Study in the Fine Arts in Chicago, a private foundation committed to awarding project-based grants to individuals and institutions working at the forefront of architecture, and producing programs that promote architecture’s role in the arts, culture and society. She is the co-artistic director of the inaugural Chicago Architecture Biennial, which will open in October 2015. The Biennial will be the largest survey of contemporary architecture in North America. From 1998 until 2006, Herda was director and curator of the Storefront for Art and Architecture, an experimental exhibition space in New York City.
Elisa Silva is the Founder of Enlace Arquitectura and professor at the Simón Bolívar University in Caracas, Venezuela. Her firm has received several awards: Her Ecoparque Maracay won first prize at the XI National Architecture Biennial Caracas (unbuilt category) in 2014; and her Sabana Grande Boulevard won the VIII Bienal Iberoamericana de Arquitectura y Urbanismo Cadiz in 2012. Both of these projects were first-place winners in competitions (the Maracay Metropolitan Park in 2011 and Sabana Grande Boulevard in 2008). Silva, who received her MArch I from Harvard GSD in 2002, won the Arthur C. Wheelwright Traveling Fellowship in 2011 with her proposal on public space–making initiatives in the slums of several Latin American cities. In 2005 she received the Rome Prize from the American Academy in Rome.
Iñaki Ábalos, Sílvia Benedito, Pedro Gadanho, Linda Pollak, Shohei Shigematsu,
Mohsen Mostafavi, Jorge Silvetti
Yung Ho Chang, Farès el-Dahdah, Farshid Moussavi, Zoe Ryan,
Mohsen Mostafavi, K. Michael Hays, Jorge Silvetti
Press 2015Harvard GSD Announces Wheelwright Prize 2015 Finalists
Wheelwright Prize 2015 Announces Jury
Wheelwright Prize 2015 General Release
Press 2014Jose M. Ahedo Wins Wheelwright Prize 2014
Harvard GSD Announces Wheelwright Prize 2014 Finalists
Wheelwright Prize 2014 Announces Jury
Wheelwright Prize 2014 General Release
Press 2013Gia Wolff Wins Wheelwright Prize 2013
Wheelwright Prize 2013 Announces Jury
Wheelwright Prize 2013 General Release
For more information about the Wheelwright Prize or access to high-resolution images for press purposes, please email:
Cathy Lang Ho
FAQs — Frequently Asked Questions
I’m uncertain if my degree qualifies me to apply.
The Wheelwright Prize is intended to support research that will impact practice. For this reason, we are making it available to those who have received a degree from a professionally accredited architecture program—in other words, a program that is the prerequisite to take licensure exams. Because degree programs vary from country to country, we do not specify the degree name or number of years in a program, but we expect applicants to hold the international equivalents of the U.S. professional architecture degree, the 5-year BArch or MArch I. Applicants must have received this degree in the 15 years prior to the prize cycle. (For example, applicants to the 2015 Wheelwright Prize cycle must have completed their degrees between 2000 and the prize deadline.) Holders of multiple degrees may apply, provided the architecture degree was conferred within the past 15 years. Professional degrees in landscape architecture, urban planning, Ph.Ds, post-docs, et cetera, do not alone satisfy the eligibility requirement. There are other fellowships available for doctoral or post-doctoral research. This prize is intended for young practitioners.
Do I have to be licensed?
Do I have to have completed any built projects?
Can I apply with a partner?
No. The original terms of the fellowship specifies that the prize be awarded to single individual each year. Jurors review portfolios to assess personal talent and potential. Prizewinners may opt to collaborate with partners after the prize is conferred.
What does the registration entail?
The registration involves simply starting your application. You may opt not to complete or submit your application, of course. The $10 submission fee is the last step of the process. It costs nothing to register.
The portfolio requirement states that each slide should contain one image each.
Can I combine images?
The jury reviews the submissions as a projected slideshow. Slides that include several images are less legible than single images. We strongly advise against complicated portfolio-style layouts on single slides. If you must combine images, we recommend that you do not include more than 2 or 3 images. You will not be disqualified but please be aware that the jury has a limited amount of time to understand your work and legibility should be a priority.
How do I secure “copyright and permissions” related to my artwork?
We reserve the right to use any aspect of your submission to promote the Wheelwright Prize. Applicants are expected to secure reprint permission for the images they include in their applications. If you are submitting professional photographs, you must secure the photographer’s consent in the event that Harvard GSD decides to publish the work in conjunction with news about the prize. If the work belongs to a firm, the firm should be aware that it is included in your submission and may be reproduced in conjunction with news about this prize. We will ensure that all published images are captioned to include appropriate credits, as provided by applicants.
What do you mean by “personal” work?
We encourage you to submit work that demonstrates your personal design interests, approach, and “voice.” We understand that young architects are not likely to have a significant body of completed work. Speculative and student work are not only acceptable but expected! We also expect that many young architects may have spent extended periods working in firms. It is fine to submit firm work, though please include only projects with which you were substantially involved, and specify your role (preferably with respect to design).
May I submit materials by mail?
No, all applications must be submitted via our online platform.
If I have applied in the past, may I reapply?
Yes! We encourage people to reapply. Every year, the jury changes as does the applicant pool. Please try again! The application platform makes it easy for those reapplying to import their previously entered information. When you log in, you will see the information related to your previous application. Be sure to select the current prize program.
Do I need to get letters of recommendation from my references?
You do not need to submit letters at this time. If you are selected as a finalist, we will contact your references. We strongly advise that you notify your references about your application, should they be contacted.
I am encountering problems with the online application platform, the registration fee, or having other technical difficulties.
Please email firstname.lastname@example.org if you experience any problems with the online platform or difficulties completing your submission.
What are the obligations of the prizewinner?
The winner of the Wheelwright Prize is expected to commence his/her research project within 12 months of winning the prize, and to complete it within 2 years. He/she is expected to spend a minimum of 6 months (cumulative, over the course of the two-year period) outside his/her country of permanent residence. Winners are not required to submit a report, but they will be invited to participate in programs at Harvard GSD (lecture series, publications, exhibitions).
|2014||Jose M. Ahedo
|Domesticated Grounds: Design and Domesticity Within an Animal Farming System|
|Floating City: The Community-Based Architecture of Parade Floats|
|Interpreting Design Knowledge Through Latin American Slum Upgrading Efforts|
|Urban loopholes and pragmatist landscapes: spatial productions and the Shanghai Expo 2010|
|Meltdown: Thawing Geographies in Arctic Russia|
|Four Experiments in Urbanism: The Modern University City in Latin America|
|Post-Disaster Architecture and Urbanism: 3 Cities along the Ring of Fire|
|The Archaeology of Afro-Modernism|
|The Roundabout Spectacle|
|A City in Miniature|
|Stuck in the Middle Again|
|2001-2002||Sze Tsung Leong
|Endangered Spaces: The Casualties of Chinese Modernization|
|Utopian Superblocks: The Evolution of Brasilia's 1,200 Housing Slabs since 1960|
MAUD '89 DDES '92
|Cartesian Grounds: The Extended Planes of Modernism|
|The Influence of Underground Transportation on the Development of Cities|
|Seam: Connecting Spatial Fabric|
|1994-1995||Edwin Y. Chan
|The Glass Building Revisited|
|1993-1994||Richard M. Sommer
|Traces of the Iron Curtain: A Creative Redescription|
|1992-1993||Jeffrey A. Murphy
|Housing Courtyards of the Amsterdam School|
|The Simulation of Nature: Alvar Aalto and the Architecture of Mis en Scene|
|Conventions of Representation and Strategies of Urban Space from the 18th to the Early 20th Centuries: Juvarra, Repton, Schinkel, Le Corbusier
|The Walled City Reconsidered: A Study of Roman Passage Architecture|
|1988-1989||Elizabeth A. Williams
|Event, Place, Precedent: The Urban Festival in Western Europe|
|The Picturesque Promenade: Temporal Order in the Space of Modernism|
|Sequence and Microsequence: Urban Drama in Baroque Italy|
|Transformation of the Landscape in Modernism: Gardens of Alvar Aalto and Le Corbusier|
|1985-1986||Paul John Grayson
|Housing and Lifecare Facilities Planning and Design for the Elderly in Japan, Israel, Europe|
|American Gardens and the European Precedent: A Design Analysis of Public Space and Cultural Translation|
|1981-1982||Hector R. Arce
|The Grid as Underlying Structure: A Study of the Urbanism of Gridded Cities in Latin America|
|1979-1980||Nelson K. Chen
|Indigenous Patterns of Housing and Processes of Urban Development in Europe and Southeast Asia|
|Time-Lapse Architecture in Sicily|
|Leon J. Goldberg
|Housing Facilities for the Elderly: A Cross-Cultural Study|
|An Investigation of the Relationship between Architecture and Urban Design of Significant European Urban Centers and their Exploration of Formal, Spatial, Geometric, Proportional, and Scalar Characteristics
|Formal Structure of Public Architecture in Persia and Turkestan|
MArch '61, MAUD '63
|1968-1969||Adele Marie de Souza Santos
|1967-1968||William H. Liskamm
|1962-1963||B. Frank Schlesinger
|Water and the Urban Image|
|1960-1961||Donald Craig Freeman
|1959-1960||John C. Haro
|1956-1957||George F. Conley
|1955-1956||Dolf Hermann Schnebli
|1954-1955||Ferdinand Frederick Bruck
|1953-1954||Royal Alfred McClure
|1952-1953||William J. Conklin
|Gottfied Paul Csala
|1951-1952||Frederick D. Holister
|Donald Emanuel Olsen
|1950-1951||Ieoh Ming Pei
|Jacek von Henneberg
|Jerry Neal Leibman
|1949-1950||Henry Louis Horowitz
|Jean Claude Mazet
|Edward Chase Weren
|George Elliot Rafferty
|1948-1949||Vaughn Papworth Call
|1947-1948||Joseph Douglas Carroll, Jr.
|1946-1947||Jean Paul Carlhian
|Noel Buckland Dant
|Martin Daniel Meyerson
|1945-1946||William Lindus Cody Wheaton
|Kurt Augustus Mumm
|1944-1945||Robert William Blachnik
|Theodore Jan Prichard
|1942-1943||Albert Evans Simonson
|William W. Wurster
|1941-1942||Phillip Emile Joseph
|1940-1941||Leonard James Currie
|1939-1940||Eliot Fette Noyes
|1938-1939||Walter H.Kilham, Jr.
|1937-1938||Constantine A. Pertzoff
|1936-1937||Newton Ellis Griffith
|Paul Marvin Rudolph
|Walter Egan Trevett
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