Feminine hygiene products made from locally sourced banana leaf fiber in Rwanda; bicycle-powered agricultural machines in Guatemala; and “diagonal” inner city public housing in Chile are the three finalists for the 2010 Curry Stone Design Prize.
The winner will be announced Oct. 13, 2010 at Google’s headquarters in New York City during National Design Week.
The Curry Stone Design Prize is awarded every year to breakthrough design solutions with the power and potential to improve our lives and the world we live in.
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 Santiago’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 Pedal is a nonprofit organization that invents and builds “Bicimaquinas,” – pedalpowered 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.
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.
“This year’s finalists are notable for their elegant and practical approach to meeting everyday challenges, and, on a higher level, to leveraging design as tools for people to empower themselves and improve their own livelihoods,” said David Mohney, Prize Secretary. “These designs embody one of the Prize’s core tenets – the ability to scale up an innovative idea to improve people’s living circumstances around the globe.”
The prize winner receives an award of $100,000; finalists receive $10,000 each. Finalists are selected from a pool of nominees submitted by leaders from the architecture and design communities. Jurors for this year’s prize are Adriaan Geuze, founding partner of the leading landscape and urbanism firm West 8 in Rotterdam; Guta Moura Guedes, Director of ExperimentaDesign in Lisbon; Matilda McQuaid, Curator at the Cooper- Hewitt Museum in New York; Rahul Mehrotra, a Mumbai-based architect who will lead Harvard’s Urban Design program this fall; and prize founder Clifford Curry.