The Curry Stone Foundation has named three winners of the 2013 Curry Stone Design Prize: Hunnarshala (Bhuj, India), Proximity Designs (Yangon, Myanmar), and Studio TAMassociati / Emergency (Venice/Milan, Italy). The annual prize, now in its sixth year, awards talented designers who “harness their ingenuity and craft for social good.” More on each winner, after the break.
The 2013 Winners:
Hunnarshala, founded in the wake of the 2001 earthquake in Gujarat, India, facilitates artisan-led reconstruction in post-disaster areas, as well as long-term redevelopment of cities and informal settlements. Hunnarshala taps the skills of local artisans and builders who have deep knowledge of resilient building systems and delivers high-quality, sustainable, and disaster-safe housing. These collaborations lead to new hybrid solutions that elevate vernacular architecture to innovation. The group’s experiments also spark the reuse of formerly unusable industrial waste, such as waste wood from shipwrecks (now joined into thin strips for flooring, doors, and window frames).
Hunnarshala has worked on disaster rehabilitation in India (Gujarat, Tamil Nadu, Kashmir and Bihar), Iran, Indonesia and Afghanistan. It has helped build more than 30,000 interim shelters and almost 12,000 permanent reconstructions.
Proximity Designs is a sustainable development group that works to improve the lives of the rural poor in Myanmar. The nonprofit boosts agricultural productivity by designing, producing, and distributing affordable equipment for people living on less than $2 a day. Proximity’s products—pedal-powered irrigation pumps, gravity-fed drip irrigation systems, and portable water storage tanks—help reduce daily hardships like hauling tons of water. Extreme affordability is a main tenet of Proximity’s design philosophy: the Baby Elephant, an all-plastic pump that can extract 850 gallons per hour, costs only $17, but it can increase a farmer’s net income by up to $200 in a single growing season.
In a country where infrastructure is underdeveloped, Proximity has had to create its own ecosystem in order to deliver its services to the farmers who most need them. All manufacturing is done in Myanmar, and distribution is hyperlocal: Products are sold in larger cities and market towns and a network of more than 800 independent agents work on the village level. To address the country’s credit famine, farmers are offered low-rate installment loans. Proximity Designs has achieved remarkable reach in an isolated country and is one of the largest nonprofits operating in Myanmar. It has sold more than 100,000 products to date, and it served more than 98,000 households in 2012.
Studio TAMassociati is an Italian consortium of architects recognized for designing health-care facilities in war-torn and critical areas. TAM champions human rights–based design in partnership with Emergency, an Italian NGO that provides medical treatment to victims of war. The decade-long collaboration has resulted in a replicable model for free, high-quality health care and educational facilities in the Sudan, Sierra Leone, the Central African Republic, Iraq, and Afghanistan.
Together, TAM and Emergency have built five hospitals in Africa that have treated more than 700,000 patients. One of those, the Salam Centre, in Khartoum, Sudan, is the only hospital in the region providing free specialized cardiac care. As an extension of their efforts to treat civilians affected by war, TAM and Emergency have collaborated on seven clinics in Italy to provide health care to refugees. Emergency’s goal is to create clinics that meet—or exceed—Western standards while respecting local traditions. TAM translates the mission of Emergency into architectural reality. TAM and Emergency bring cutting-edge health-care facilities and architecture into areas where there are none. The team has redefined health care by showing how a hospital can become a cultural lifeline and health can be a bridge for peace.
The winners will share the $120,000 prize equally.
Information from the Curry Stone Design Prize Web Site.