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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.

Nominees for the Curry Stone Design Prize are selected by an anonymous, rotating group of social impact experts from around the world. Nominators, who are invited to participate by the Prize’s board members and advisors, represent broad fields of design, as well as humanitarian advocacy across various disciplines. A rotating international jury led by one of the cofounders meets annually.

2014 Winner

Studios KabakoPlay
Studios Kabako, a Congolese performance and theater studio founded by Faustin Linyekula in 2001, was created to
address social memory, fear, and hope in the aftermath of civil war. Through its cultural programs and urban interventions, the studio aims to create a network for dance and artistic expression in a city that is geographically and culturally isolated, and that has been the theater for a series of major battles over the last decades.

2013 Winners

Hunnarshala, founded in the wake of the 2001 earthquake in Gujarat, India, facilitates community-driven, artisan-led reconstruction in post-disaster areas, as well as long-term redevelopment of cities and informal settlements. Hunnarshala takes the long view on rehabilitation by training artisans and helping them start businesses, and by facilitating social housing, sustainable tourism, and wastewater treatment schemes in places that are past the point of crisis.

Proximity DesignsPlay
Proximity Designs is a sustainable development group that works to improve the lives of the rural poor in Myanmar. Proximity Designs boosts agricultural productivity by designing, producing, and distributing affordable products for people living on less than $2 a day. These include pedal-powered irrigation pumps, gravity-fed drip irrigation systems, and portable water storage tanks custom made for Myanmar’s farmers. Each design is intended to reduce daily hardships like hauling tons of water, and each improves household productivity by replacing time-consuming, antiquated technologies. Proximity Designs takes a holistic approach to farmer assistance, offering education programs, financing, and infrastructure projects that improve the lives of people in the country’s most remote regions.

Studio TAMassociati is a nonprofit architecture firm recognized for designing healthcare facilities in war-torn areas. The firm champions human rights–based design in partnership with Emergency, an Italian NGO that provides medical treatment to victims of war. The decade-long collaboration of the two organizations has resulted in a replicable model for free, high-quality healthcare and educational facilities in the Sudan, Sierra Leone, the Central African Republic, Iraq, and Afghanistan. Together, TAM and Emergency have built five hospitals on the African continent, facilities that have treated more than 700,000 patients. In addition, as an extension of their efforts to treat civilians affected by war, they have collaborated on seven clinics in Italy—four of which are mobile units—to provide healthcare to refugees.

Vision Award: Architecture for HumanityPlay
The Curry Stone Foundation is saddened to learn the news of Architecture for Humanity’s closure. We are proud to have supported such important work. We are grateful to have had the opportunity to participate, making a contribution to social impact design.  The non-profit facilitated good design solutions for many and positively impacted millions of lives.

In fact, Architecture for Humanity inspired us to found the Curry Stone Design Prize in 2008 and to give further recognition to designers who use the power of design to vitalize communities across the world. In 2013, the Prize recognized Architecture for Humanity, Kate Stohr and Cameron Sinclair for their commitment to humanitarian work with our inaugural Vision Award. The Curry Stone Foundation also produced a short film about their work.

We will continue to support social impact design work throughout the world.

2012 Winners

Center for Urban Pedagogy (CUP)Play
The Center for Urban Pedagogy (CUP) collaborates with teachers and students, policy experts and community advocates, and artists and designers to visually communicate complex urban-planning processes and policy-making decisions. In CUP’s hands a topic as dry and alienating as voter redistricting is distilled down into a colorful, accessible foldout brochure that becomes a source of empowerment. The subjects of CUP’s projects vary greatly, but many provide practical advice to groups who lack access to such information: immigrants, public-housing residents, and at-risk youth, to name a few. CUP doesn’t rest once the design phase is complete—the group also organizes community sessions and school workshops in order to help build an engaged citizenship.

Jeanne van HeeswijkPlay
Jeanne van Heeswijk is an artist who facilitates the creation of lively and diversified public spaces, typically from abandoned or derelict sites. Her socially engaged art practice generates new forms of encounter while challenging bureaucratic conventions and acquired rules.

Liter of LightPlay
Liter of Light teaches entrepreneurs to install a clear plastic soda bottle filled with water and installed in the roof as a skylight. The water refracts the sunlight as it streams through the bottle, dispersing the rays 360 degrees, thereby illuminating the entire room. The recipients of the solar bottle bulbs, who pay about $1 for the bulb and installation, save money on electricity and cut back on the use of kerosene, candles, and other fuels that are responsible for indoor air pollution and fire hazards. widely distributing the technical know-how to produce the solar bottle bulbs, and through a combination of social networking, community outreach, open-source sharing, and hands-on building, the organization has placed tens of thousands of these solar bottle bulbs in informal settlements worldwide.

MASS Design GroupPlay
Model of Architecture Serving Society—aka MASS Design—is a Boston-based architecture firm that has created a niche practice in designing healthcare facilities in resource-limited settings, primarily in countries emerging from crisis. MASS brings high-quality design and implementation to where it is most needed, and at the same time brings other disciplines into architectural work (its core team includes public health professionals with no background in design). MASS’s working model demonstrates the importance and potential of good design in the medical realm, not just in terms of creating more beautiful spaces, but also in defining the best conditions to stimulate physical and psychological recovery.

Riwaq Centre for Architectural Conservation has spent more than two decades documenting Palestinian heritage and culture through restoration of the built environment. Riwaq sees architectural restoration as a social and economic incubator; the projects it facilitates serve the public, create jobs, and strengthen community identity. Riwaq has done pioneering work in a region greatly affected and fragmented by conflict, completing complicated, multi-stakeholder projects on a large scale in the face of many logistical and sociopolitical challenges.

2011 Winners

Hsieh Ying-ChunPlay
Hsieh Ying-Chun is a leading Taiwanese architect who for over a decade has deployed his talents in rural areas that have been decimated by natural disaster. Hsieh works throughout Asia, training villagers to build locally appropriate dwellings in response to the devastation of the 2008 Sichuan earthquake, the 1999 Nantou earthquake and the 2009 Typhoon Morakot in Taiwan. Through Hsieh's hands-on education process, villagers literally reconstruct their own community foundation, knowing they will live in buildings with greater safety, structural integrity, and sustainability.

Atelier d’Architecture AutogéréePlay
Atelier d'Architecture Autogérée is a collective of architects who transform urban spaces through collaborative, localized endeavors. Founded by Franco-Romanian architects Constantin Petcou and Doina Petrescu in 2001, AAA has become an engine for engaging citizens in shaping their own cities through experimentation and renewal of derelict urban space. 

FrontlineSMS was founded by Ken Banks in 2005 to enable effective communications channels for communities in the developing world. FrontlineSMS leverages the ubiquity of mobile phones and familiarity of text messaging to turn an offline laptop into a communication hub. The simple innovation empowers villagers, aid agencies, and news services to exchange information among groups easily.

2010 Winners

Sustainable Health EnterprisesPlay
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.

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 PedalPlay
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.

2009 Winners

Alejandro Echeverri and Sergio FajardoPlay
Alejandro Echeverri (former urban planner) and Sergio Fajardo (former mayor) for Transformative Public Works in Medellin, Columbia 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 HeringerPlay
Anna Heringer is a 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

Transition NetworkPlay
The Transition movement is 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.  Rob Hopkins started the first Transition town in Totnes, England.

Image Credit: Mike Grenville

Image Credit: Mike Grenville


2008 Winners

Shawn FraynePlay
Shawn Frayne invented 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 JanzPlay
Wes Janz, is an architect and associate professor of architecture at Ball State University in Indiana, and author of the 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.

Luyanda MpahlwaPlay
Luyanda Mpahlwa is part of the vanguard of new is part of the vanguard of new designers who are reshaping and re-envisioning South Africa’s post-apartheid architectural landscape. Mpahlwa’s innovations include ingenious designs for low-cost homes, including the 10x10 Housing Project in the township of Freedom Park, a shantytown on the outskirts of Cape Town. The project, commissioned in 2007 by Design Indaba, South Africa’s premier design expo, paired 10 local and international architects with 10 Freedom Park families, to build experimental homes on the government subsidy budget of 50,000 South African rand, or about $6,900.

Marjetica PotrčPlay
Marjetica Potrč is 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 ScarponiPlay
Antonio Scarponi is 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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