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Germane Barnes wins 2021 Wheelwright Prize
United States Architecture News - May 11, 2021 - 14:20 2523 views
Chicago-born Miami-based designer Germane Barnes has won the 2021 Wheelwright Prize by the Harvard University Graduate School of Design (GSD). Harvard GSD's Wheelwright Prize offers a grant "to support investigative approaches to contemporary architecture, with an emphasis on globally minded research."
Barnes's winning proposal, titled "Anatomical Transformations in Classical Architecture", will examine Roman and Italian architecture through the lens of non-white constructors. Within the scope of this research Barnes will study how spaces have been transformed through the material contributions of the African Diaspora while creating new architectural possibilities that emerge within investigations of Blackness.
As with past Wheelwright winners, Germane Barnes will receive a 100,000 USD fund for his two-year of research and travel.
Courtesy of Harvard GSD
Barnes' winning proposal was selected from the shortlisted architects; Luis Berríos-Negrón, Iulia Statica, Catty Dan Zhang.
The Wheelwright Prize stated that Barnes will start his research project this summer, with archival research geared toward generating an index of the portico typology throughout Italy and Northern Africa, as well as maps that show the spatial mobility of the porch and the portico across continents and cultures.
Central to Barnes’s proposal is the idea that porch-as-portico may offer a new frame on the spatial and conceptual terrain through which one finds inventions of race, identity, and the built environment.
A Spectrum of Blackness. Image © MoMA
"The past year has shown the world that marginalized communities offer more than a cursory look, but a thorough excavation of their contributions and legacies," said Barnes.
"As a Black architect I have struggled with the absence of my identity in the profession, and there have been moments where I have questioned my talent and ideologies because they failed to gain recognition in prominent architecture circles. To believe that the only way to measure success is acceptance was a thought I had to exterminate."
Dark Mode. Image © Blair Reid, courtesy of Studio Barnes
"I am fortunate to have a support system that challenges these systems of exclusion because it gives importance and agency to Black spatial investigations. To be selected as the winner of this year’s Wheelwright Prize provides credibility that Blackness is a viable and critical discourse, and strengthens my resolve and confidence in my professional trajectory. My hope is that my win and the work that follows it will be a necessary accelerant to provide more opportunities and exposure to Black practitioners and researchers," added Germane Barnes.
Sarah M. Whiting, Harvard GSD’s Dean and Josep Lluís Sert Professor of Architecture said that "Harvard GSD is proud and honored to award the 2021 Wheelwright Prize to Germane Barnes for a research proposal that is at once sweeping and nuanced."
"His focus on the classical origins of a familiar type—the porch—is both potently precise and generously speculative. Importantly, Barnes positions his research in terms of overlooked or underacknowledged connections and contributions, focusing upon a specific architectural question and, from there, suggesting a constellation of revelations. Barnes delivers the specificity, the technical skill, the innovation, and the passion that promise to make his project significant both for architecture as a discipline and for architectural culture writ large," Whiting added.
Pop Up Porch. Image courtesy of Harvard University Graduate School of Design, Studio Barnes
Barnes was selected from more than 150 applicants, hailing from 45 countries.
Now in its 9th cycle, the Wheelwright Prize is an open international competition that awards 100,000 USD to a talented early-career architect to support expansive, intensive design research.
The annual prize is dedicated to fostering innovative, boundary-driving architectural research that is informed by cross-cultural engagement, and that shows potential to make a significant impact on architectural discourse.
Germane Barnes is Director of Studio Barnes in Miami and the former Designer-In-Residence for the Opa-locka Community Development Corporation, where he led a multi-site urban revitalization project.
Sacred Stoops. Image © RAW
He is currently the Director of the Community Housing Identity Lab (CHIL) at the University of Miami School of Architecture. Learning from historical data and perspectives from within architecture as well as cultural and ethnic studies, CHIL posits that the built environment is manipulated by factors that extend far beyond conventional construction methods.
Sistrunk Exihibition. Image © Steven Brooke
Barnes’s design and research contributions have been published and exhibited in several international institutions, including the Museum of Modern Art, Pin-Up Magazine, the Graham Foundation, The New York Times, Architect Magazine, DesignMiami/ Art Basel, the Swiss Institute, Metropolis Magazine, Curbed, and the National Museum of African American History, where he was identified as one of the future designers on the rise.
Top image: Germane Barnes, courtesy of Harvard University Graduate School of Design, Studio Barnes.
> via Harvard GSD