Observed | Competitions

Wheelwright Prize 2013 Winner

As visiting assistant professor at Pratt Institute, Wolff taught an advanced design studio course that challenged students to consider whether a body can be a paradigm for a building.

Mohsen Mostafavi, Dean of Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design, announced the winner of the inaugural Wheelwright Prize, a $100,000: Brooklyn based architect Gia Wolff.

The new Wheelwright Prize is an update of the Arthur Wheelwright Traveling Fellowship, which was established in 1935 and previously available only to GSD alumni. The prize is now open to architects all over the world, and is a $100,000 traveling fellowship dedicated to fostering new forms of architectural research informed by cross-cultural engagement.

The Wheelwright Prize jury — Mostafavi, Yung Ho Chang, Farès el-Dahdah, K. Michael Hays, Farshid
Moussavi, Zoe Ryan, and Jorge Silvetti — selected Gia Wolff from among 231 applicants from 45
countries, including Afghanistan, Brazil, Burkina Faso, China, Egypt, India, Indonesia, Iran, Nigeria, and

Wolff has worked for Acconci Studio, LOT-EK, Adjaye Associates, and Architecture Research Office (ARO), where she has been involved in projects that range from libraries to residences, exhibition designs to urban installations. She is presently an assistant professor adjunct at the Irwin S. Chanin School of Architecture at the Cooper Union and a visiting assistant professor at Pratt Institute. She leads her own practice, which focuses on “performance and its use of space and objects to convey narrative, form, and emotion,” in her words. Recently, she has been collaborating with the Phantom Limb Company on set designs for productions including The Devil You Know (presented at La Mama Experimental Theater, New York, 2010), The Composer Is Dead (Berkeley Repertory Theater, Berkeley, 2010), and 69° South (BAM Next Wave Festival, Brooklyn, 2011). Wolff received a Master of Architecture from Harvard GSD in 2008 and a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Parsons School of Design in 2001.

Wolff’s winning proposal, Floating City: The Community-Based Architecture of Parade Floats,
proposes the study of the tradition of parade floats — elaborate temporary and mobile constructions
that are realized annually in carnival festivals in Rio de Janeiro (Brazil), Goa (India), Nice (France), Santa
Cruze de Tenerife (Spain), and Viarreggio (Italy).

Posted in: Architecture

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