Harvard Graduate School of Design to present Curry Stone Design Prize

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The Harvard Graduate School of Design will present the 2011 Curry Stone Design Prize Festival, Nov. 7-8.

The festival is a joint presentation of the Loeb Fellowship and the Department of Urban Planning and Design, and hosted by Rahul Mehrotra, Chair of Urban Planning and Design.

The Curry Stone Design Prize, an annual international award, was created to champion designers as a force for social change. Now in its fourth year, the Prize recognizes innovators who address critical issues involving clean air, food and water, shelter, health care, energy, education, social justice or peace. Each year, the Grand Prize Winner receives $100,000, no strings attached. Two additional winners receive $10,000 each.

The festival begins Monday evening, Nov. 7, with a presentation of the three winners in Piper Auditorium, GSD, 6:30 p.m. It continues Tuesday, Nov. 8, with three concurrent seminars, one with each winner, at the GSD, noon to 2 p.m. This year’s Curry Stone Design Prize winners include a post-disaster reconstruction architect working in Taiwan, a team of urban space interventionists based in Paris, and an the creator of an SMS technology that allows group communications without requiring an Internet connection.

Grand Prize Winner: Hsieh Ying-Chun, a leading Taiwanese architect who for over a decade has deployed his talents in rural areas decimated by natural disaster. Hsieh works throughout Asia, training villagers to build locally appropriate dwellings in response to devastation such as the 2008 Sichuan earthquake, the 1999 Nantou earthquake, and the 2009 Morakot typhoon in Taiwan. Through Hsieh’s hands-on education process, villagers reconstruct their own community foundation, knowing they will live in buildings with greater safety, structural integrity, and sustainability.

Winner: Atelier d’Architecture Autogérée is a collective of architects, designers and social scientists who transform urban spaces through collaborative endeavors. Based in Paris and founded by Romanian architects Constantin Petcou and Doina Petrescu in 2001, AAA has become an engine for engaging citizens in shaping their own cities through building, farming, and artistic intervention. AAA acts as a creative instigator, empowering local communities to carry out and sustain their own ideas for urban regeneration.

Winner: FrontlineSMS was founded in London by Ken Banks in 2005 to enable effective communications channels for communities in the developing world. FrontlineSMS leverages the ubiquity of mobile phones and familiarity of text messaging to turn an offline laptop into a communication hub. The simple innovation empowers villagers, aid agencies, and news services to exchange information easily among groups.

The Curry Stone Design Prize was founded by Clifford Curry, an architect and recognized pioneer in senior housing, and Delight Stone, a historic archaeologist and social justice activist. Nominees for the Curry Stone Design Prize are selected by an anonymous, rotating group of leaders representing broad fields of design, as well as humanitarian advocates from related disciplines. A jury reviews the nominations to choose one Grand Prize Winner and two Prize Winners. Emphasis is placed on emerging projects and ideas that may not have yet been taken to scale.