Alum Germane Barnes (MArch '12) wins 2021 Wheelwright Prize

Woodbury alum Germane Barnes (MArch ’12) has been announced the winner of the 2021 Wheelwright Prize by Harvard’s Graduate School of Design. Germane will receive a $100,000 fellowship fund to finance his two-year research project Anatomical Transformations in Classical Architecture.

“The past year has shown the world that marginalized communities offer more than a cursory look but a thorough excavation of their contributions and legacies,” Barnes said. “As a Black architect, I have struggled with the absence of my identity in the profession, and there have been moments where I have questioned my talent and ideologies because they failed to gain recognition in prominent architecture circles.”

According to the GSD, Barnes will examine Roman and Italian architecture through the lens of non-white constructors, studying how spaces have been transformed through the material contributions of the African Diaspora while creating new architectural possibilities that emerge within investigations of Blackness.

A Spectrum of Blackness. Germane Barnes. 2020. Photo: MoMA

“To believe that the only way to measure success is acceptance was a thought I had to exterminate,” Barnes continued. “I am fortunate to have a support system that challenges these systems of exclusion because it gives importance and agency to Black spatial investigations. To be selected as the winner of this year’s Wheelwright Prize provides credibility that Blackness is a viable and critical discourse, and strengthens my resolve and confidence in my professional trajectory. My hope is that my win and the work that follows it will be a necessary accelerant to provide more opportunities and exposure to Black practitioners and researchers.”

Barnes is also a 2021-2022 American Academy Rome Prize recipient and part of the Black Reconstruction Collective with its recent MoMA exhibition Reconstructions: Architecture and Blackness in America. Additionally, Barnes was one of four of the 2021 Distinguished Alumni invited by Woodbury School of Architecture to speak to the 2021 graduating class.

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