Harvard Graduate School of Design’s 2020 Wheelwright Prize: The Harvard Graduate School of Design (Harvard GSD) is pleased to announce the 2020 cycle of the Wheelwright Prize, an open international competition that awards $100,000 to a talented early-career architect to support expansive, intensive design research.
The 2020 Wheelwright Prize is now accepting applications; the deadline for submissions is Sunday, January 26, 2020.
This annual prize is dedicated to advancing original architectural research that is informed by cross-cultural engagement and that shows potential to make a significant impact on architectural discourse.
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.
An affiliation to the GSD is not required. Applicants are asked to submit a portfolio and research proposal that includes travel outside the applicant’s home country.
The winning architect is expected to dedicate roughly two years of concentrated research related to their proposal, and to return to Harvard GSD to present a lecture on their findings.
Applicants will be judged on the quality of their design work, scholarly accomplishments, originality or persuasiveness of the research proposal, evidence of ability to fulfill the proposed project, and the potential for a successful project to make an important contribution to architectural discourse.
Requirements of the Harvard Graduate School of Design’s 2020 Wheelwright Prize:
- Applicant must have graduated from a professionally accredited architecture degree program in the past 15 years. (Graduates prior to January 2005 are ineligible.) Holders of multiple degrees may apply, provided they received their professional degrees between January 2005 and January 2020. 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.
- For winners based in the United States, some amount of research must be undertaken outside the country.
- 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.
How To Apply for the Harvard Graduate School of Design’s 2020 Wheelwright Prize
The application process is entirely online. No submissions will be accepted by mail.
The 2020 Wheelwright Prize is now accepting applications.
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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 proposed research to the contemporary discipline of architecture. What are the consequences of the research project?
- How might it impact practice? Applicants should describe their proposed methodology and special insight, ability, and skill to execute your proposal. Strong proposals will demonstrate how the resources of the Wheelwright Prize will enable the project to be successful.
- List of three professional references (full name, affiliation, contact information, and relationship to the applicant). Letters are not required at this time.
Application deadline for submissions is January 26, 2020.
NOTE: There is no fee to submit an application. It is absolutely free!
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. There is no fee to submit an application. 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.
Winners based in the United States are expected to undertake some amount of research outside the country.
Winners are not required to submit a report, but they will be invited to participate in programs at Harvard GSD (lecture series, publications, exhibitions).
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