Virginia Tech Architecture alumna Quynh Vantu (B.Arch. 2001) was selected as one of three finalists for the prestigious Wheelwright Prize, awarded by Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design (GSD). Her proposal was entitled, “On Movement: the threshold and its shaping of culture and spatial experience.”
An artist and licensed architect, Quynh currently maintains a studio-based practice in London, Studio Quynh Vantu, which “explores our physical relationship to the built environment and how we interact with our spatial surroundings.” She is also a PhD candidate at the Bartlett School of Architecture-University College London.
Quynh has received numerous awards and grants, including a Worldstudio AIGA Grant (2009), the Stewardson Kefee LeBrun Travel Grant-AIA NY (2009-10), and a Fulbright Fellowship (2012-13). She has been awarded several artist residencies, including at the Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts in Omaha, Nebraska (2010); Olafur Eliasson’s Institut für Raumexperimente in Berlin, Germany (2010-11); the Gyeonggi Creation Center in Dabudo, South Korea (2012); and the Norrköping AIR in Sweden (2014).
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. Established in 1935 in memory of Arthur W. Wheelwright, Harvard Class of 1887, the Wheelwright Traveling Fellowship was intended to encourage the study of architecture outside the United States at a time when international travel was difficult. Until recently, the award was available only to GSD alumni; past fellows have included Paul Rudolph, Eliot Noyes, William Wurster, Christopher Tunnard, I. M. Pei, Farès el-Dahdah, Adele Santos, and Linda Pollak.
Revamped in 2013, the Wheelwright Prize is now in its third year as an open international competition for early-career architects. The 2015 cycle received nearly 200 submissions from 51 countries. The jury for the 2015 Wheelwright Prize included Harvard GSD Dean Mohsen Mostafavi, K. Michael Hays, Eliot Noyes Professor of Architectural Theory and Associate Dean of Academic Affairs at the Harvard GSD, Jorge Silvetti, Professor, Harvard GSD, Prof. Craig Barton, Director of The Design School at the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts at Arizona State University, Preston Scott Cohen, the Gerald M. McCue Professor at Harvard GSD, Sarah Herda, the Director of the Graham Foundation for Advanced Study in the Fine Arts in Chicago, and Elisa Silva, the Founder of Enlace Arquitectura and Professor at the Simón Bolívar University in Caracas, Venezuela.