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Curry Stone Design Prize

The largest annual grant of the Curry Stone Foundation is to the Curry Stone Design Prize. The Curry Stone Design Prize honors an individual or group for developing and implementing a visionary design innovation. These emerging projects address critical issues such as access to clean air, food and water, shelter, health care, energy, education, social justice and the promotion of peace.  Winning projects engage communities at the fulcrum of change, raising awareness, empowering individuals and fostering collective revitalization.

The Grand Prize Winner is awarded a no-strings-attached grant of $100,000. Two winners each receive $10,000.  The ongoing nomination process is anonymous.  Emiliano Gandolfi is the Prize Secretary. The Prize Curator is Chee Pearlman and Cameron Sinclair is the Senior Advisor. Architecture for Humanity is the Prize administrator.  Architecture for Humanity hosts a web site specific to the prize and prize finalists.

The 2010 prize finalists are:

Sustainable Health Enterprises
2010 Curry Stone Design Grand Prize Winner
Sustainable Health Enterprises (SHE) is addressing girls’ and women’s lack of access to menstrual pads, causing them to miss up to 50 days of work and school annually. Since 2009, the SHE Team, led by founder Elizabeth Scharpf, has built the groundwork to launch a sustainable, locally based micro-capital industry to combat this issue through community based education, business skill training and product design. SHE has designed feminine hygiene products made from locally-sourced
banana fiber in Rwanda.

2010 Curry Stone Design Prize Winner

ELEMENTAL, a Chilean design firm and self described “Do Tank” has raised the bar for public housing in the developing world with its transformative design for Iquique’s Quinta Monroy shantytown. Working in close consultation with local residents, ELEMENTAL countered the trend of displacing poor people from urban centers by stacking duplex units at diagonals from one other. Founders Pablo Allard, Andres Iacobelli, and Alejandro Arevena’s designs have not only solved the problem of density, but maximized the $7,500-per-unit budget by building “starter” homes that allow people to easily expand and individualize their spaces. As Aravena likes to say, each unit has “the DNA of a middle-class home.” The firm is now working to build similar dwellings in cities in Brazil, Portugal and other countries.

Maya Pedal
2010 Curry Stone Design Prize Winner
Maya Pedal is a nonprofit organization that invents and builds “Bicimaquinas,” – pedal-powered machines made from used bicycles that make agricultural and household tasks faster and easier for rural residents with limited access to gas and electricity. Founded by Carlos Marroquin, Maya Pedal makes its designs, for everything from grain mills to washing machines and blenders, “open source” so anyone can build them. Their designs, made with bike donations from the U.S. and Canada, have helped spawn small business enterprises in Guatemala and beyond.


The 2009 prize finalists are:

Alejandro Echeverri (urban planner) and Sergio Fajardo (former mayor) for Transformative Public Works in Medellin, Columbia
“Our most beautiful buildings must be in our poorest areas”

Echeverri and Fajardo mobilized a team of renowned architects to design a series of modern and visually striking libraries, schools, parks, and community centers that have dramatically transformed what was considered the deadliest city in the world into a vibrant, urban hub.  Their commitment to erecting the most beautiful buildings in the poorest areas, matched with ambitious social programs, has contributed to a drop in crime and galvanized tourism.  Their work has also helped bridge the class divide, linking Medellin’s most impoverished people to the cultural and economic fabric of the city.

Image Credit: Sergio Gomez

Image Credit: Sergio Gomez

Image Credit: Medellin Municipaliy

Image Credit: Medellin Municipaliy


Anna Heringer (designer) whose Handmade buildings in rural Bangladesh offer a sustainable and beautiful construction
“Sustainability is a synonym for beauty.”

Heringer, whose buildings in rural Bangladesh are an elegant blend of old and new, is bucking the growing trend toward cement and steel buildings in the region by offering a sustainable alternative.  Her designs for village schools and single-family homes combine local materials such as bamboo and straw with modern building techniques, and are constructed entirely by hand by local people, without the need for machinery or dependence on outside markets.  Heringer’s designs reaffirm that “progress” can be ecologically sensitive, beautiful and support local craftsmanship.

Image Credit: Kurt Hörbst

Image Credit: Kurt Hörbst


Rob Hopkins (co-founder)
Visionary catalyst of the Transition Movement – an international, community-led response to global warming and declining oil reserves
“We’re all in this situation together.”  “The community has a collective genius.”

Rob Hopkins is a visionary catalyst of the Transition movement – an international, community-led response to global warming and declining oil reserves.  This movement connects more than 200 cities and towns worldwide that have adopted creative and collective approaches to reducing their carbon footprint, from large-scale community gardens to introducing a local currency, encouraging local consumption.  Hopkins, who started the Transition town in Totnes, England, literally wrote the book for the movement, The Transition Handbook.

Image Credit: Mike Grenville

Image Credit: Mike Grenville

The 2008 winners were:

The 2008 winner was the Timber Frame and Sandbag In-fill project of MMA. 2008 prizes went to: the Windbelt (Shawn Frayne); One Small Project (Wes Janz); Dry Toilet (Marjetica Potrc); Dreaming Wall (Antonio Scarponi).

Shawn Frayne, 27, inventor of the Windbelt, the world’s first non–turbine wind–powered generator. The technology, which is light enough to hold in your hand, has enormous potential to help people in poor communities power lamps, run small vaccine refrigerators, and charge cell phones for pennies a day. Frayne was inspired to create the Windbelt after a visit to a village in Haiti where residents, who lack an electrical grid, rely on costly kerosene and diesel fuel. 

Wes Janz
, 55, architect and associate professor of architecture at Ball State University in Indiana, and author of the forthcoming book, One Small Project. Janz's practice focuses on "leftover places" — the world's slums and settlements where people build shelters from scavenged materials — as sites of innovation and inspiration for architects committed to using their craft for social good. In collaboration with his students and local communities, Janz has constructed shelters and pavilions in Argentina, Sri Lanka, and elsewhere, from found materials such as mud and rubble from demolished buildings.

MMA Architects, whose principals, Luyanda Mphahlwa, 49, and Mphethi Morojele, 45, are reshaping South Africa’s post–apartheid architectural landscape. MMA's innovations include an ingenious design for low–cost homes in a shantytown outside Cape Town, with timber frame and sandbag in–fill construction that can be built for $6,900. The design, which borrows from indigenous mud–and–wattle building techniques, is energy efficient and requires little to no electricity or skilled labor to construct. MMA will complete 10 such houses by the end of the year with volunteer help from local women in the community.

Marjetica Potrc
, 55, an artist and architect who works closely with impoverished communities to devise sustainable solutions to quality–of–life dilemmas. A six-month stay in the barrios of Carcaras, Venezuela, resulted in her design for a "dry toilet," which collects human waste and converts it to fertilizer. More recently, she has spent time in New Orleans examining the revival of homegrown sustainable practices such as rainwater harvesting, which helps collect storm water runoff, restores wetlands and prevents flooding.

Antonio Scarponi
, 34, an architect based in Venice, Italy, whose interdisciplinary projects use architecture, multimedia arts and design to "jam" conventional social orders and illuminate the social and political lines that unite and divide us. His 2007 interactive project, "Dreaming Wall," was a digitally generated billboard installed in an historic Milanese square that displayed randomly chosen real–time text messages sent from across the world.

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