Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design (Harvard GSD) has announced Polish-born architect Aleksandra Jaeschke as the winner of the 2019 Wheelwright Prize, a grant to support early-career architects through travel-based research.
Jaeschke’s proposal, UNDER WRAPS, aspires to become an extensive catalog of greenhouse typologies around the world, specifically exploring the synergy between the different agents in various ecosystems along with the spatial characteristics of horticultural operations.
The prize will support her travels to countries like Taiwan, Morocco, and South Korea, exploring regions with a high density of greenhouse agriculture to create a comprehensive spectrum of artifacts varied in their architectonics, technological complexity, and function. She aims to develop a more equitable “greenhouse ruralism” through spatial arrangements to encourage local farmers and develop the concept of “urban(horti)culture” as a way to promote greater sensibility among urban dwellers.
Implications of architectonic typologies in multi-agent environments is a reoccurring theme in Jaeschke’s work: Her dissertation in Harvard GSD, Green Apparatus: Ecology of the American House According to Building Codes, dealt with the dynamics between building regulations, technology, and environmentally-driven design. In the past she has consistently dealt with interconnections between design, economic processes and legal mechanisms through projects like “Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Indians Housing Research and Prototype Design,” in Harvard GSD and the 2016 Doctor of Design Conference “#decoding.”
“With her pioneering work on greenhouses, Aleksandra Jaeschke reasserts that the field of architecture can and should continue to engage deeply with nature, with horticulture, and with ruralism and the countryside,” says Mohsen Mostafavi, Dean and Alexander and Wiley Professor of Design, Harvard GSD.
Jaeschke holds a Doctor of Design degree from the Harvard GSD, and an AA Diploma from the Architectural Association in London. She co-founded and co-directed an architectural firm AION with Andrea Di Stefano and is currently an Assistant Professor at UT Austin. She participated in and curated numerous exhibitions and conferences like the 27/37 Exhibition of Young Italian Architecture, the Italian Pavilion, Shanghai Expo 2010, ARCHITEKTUR! conference series at MAXXI Museum in Rome in 2012 and her solo exhibition Eco-Machines, in the Wroclaw Museum of Architecture in Poland, in 2013 to name a few.
Presently in its seventh year as an open international award, the Wheelwright Prize backings travel-based research initiatives. Previous winners have traveled around the world dealing with a broad spectrum of social, cultural, environmental, and technological issues. Jaeschke follows 2018 Wheelwright Prize winner Aude-Line Dulière, whose project is currently in its travel-research phase and looks into construction methods and supply systems in the global film industry. Other previous winners include Samuel Bravo, who investigated the vernacular architecture and informal settlements of the Amazon, and MAIO's Anna Puigjaner, who dealt with housing models across the globe.