Courtesy Cooking Sections 'What is Above is What is Below,' Cooking Sections, Manifesta 12 (2018)

The Harvard Graduate School of Design (Harvard GSD) has named Daniel Fernández Pascual as the recipient of its 2020 Wheelwright Prize, awarding the early-career architect with $100,000 to support two years of further research for his proposal Being Shellfish: The Architecture of Intertidal Cohabitation. According to his proposal, Fernández Pascual will research coastal lands that are exposed to air at low tide but submerged at high tide, examining how these areas might inform future architecture and materials.

Daniel Fernández Pascual
Lourdes Cabrera Daniel Fernández Pascual

In his proposal, Fernández Pascual explains that the seaweed and shellfish found in these areas have served as both food sources and as natural construction materials in "coastal circular economies." Fernández Pascual hopes to investigate how the seaweed and the shellfish waste shells might serve as a sustainable and renewable base for a new form concrete, furthering modern material development.

"We live immersed in ecologies that are eroding and changing at a rapid state, and the current global pandemic is just another sign of that environmental crisis,” said Fernández Pascual in a Harvard GSD release. “As awareness about the environmental footprint of construction increases, there is an urgency to find materials that are responsive to dynamic ecosystems, to support eco-social innovation and architectural ingenuity along coastal zones, and to understand forms of cohabitation between humans and more-than-humans in order to support thriving ecosystems and societies. The Wheelwright Prize will allow me to investigate how the intertidal zone, in all of its complexity, may advance architectural knowledge in an era of climate emergency."

Courtesy Cooking Sections 'Offsetted,' Cooking Sections (2019)

The jury for the 2020 Wheelwright Prize—which comprised 2016 Wheelwright Prize Winner Anna Puigjaner; Harvard GSD dean Sarah M. Whiting; Harvard GSD’s chair of the Department of Architecture Mark Lee; Harvard GSD assistant professor of architecture Megan Panzano; British architect Tom Emerson; and Belgian architect Wonne Ickx—selected Fernández Pascual from a pool of over 170 applicants from 45 countries.

Harvard GSD also recognized the two other finalists for this year's prize, commending Bryony Roberts in New York and Gustavo Utrabo in São Paulo, Brazil, for their proposals.

Fernández Pascual earned his M.Arch from Escuela Técnica Superior de Arquitectura de Madrid in Spain, his M.S. in Urban Design from the Technical University of Berlin and Tongji University in Shanghai, and his PhD from the Goldsmiths, University of London Centre for Research Architecture. In 2013 he co-founded the London–based firm Cooking Sections alongside Alon Schwabe, exploring how the world is organized around food systems.

Courtesy Cooking Sections 'Mussel Beach,' Cooking Sections (2019)

Previous winners of the Wheelwright Prize include Austin, Texas–based architect Aleksandra Jaeschke (2019), Brussels–based architect Aude-Line Dulière (2018), and Santiago, Chile–based Samuel Bravo (2017).