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
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 2003 are ineligible.) Holders of multiple degrees may apply, provided they received their professional degrees between 2003 and January 2018. 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 2019 Wheelwright Prize is now accepting applications. Deadline for submissions is January 27, 2019. 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.