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The Curry Stone Design Prize, administered by the University of Kentucky, will be awarded every year to “breakthrough design solutions with the power and potential to improve our lives and the world we live in.” This year’s inaugural winner will be announced Sept 25, 2008 at the IdeaFestival in Louisville, Ky.
The finalists are:
Shawn Frayne, inventor of 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. www.humdingerwind.com
Wes Janz, architect and associate professor of architecture at Ball State University in Indiana and author of the forthcoming book, “One Small Project.” Janz’s practice focuses on “leftover places” – the world’s slums and settlements where people build shelters from scavenged materials. 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. www.onesmallproject.com
MMA Architects’ innovations include an ingenious design for low-cost homes in a shantytown outside Cape Town, whose timber frame and sandbag infill construction can be built for $6,900. The design, which borrows from indigenous mud-and-wattle building techniques, is energy-efficient, and requires little to no electricity or skilled labor to construct. www.mmaarch.co.za
Marjetica Potrč, an artist and architect who works closely with impoverished communities to devise sustainable solutions to quality-of-life dilemmas, such as 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 run-off storm-water, restores wetlands and prevents flooding. http://Potrc.org
Antonio Scarponi, an architect based in Venice, Italy using architecture, multimedia arts and design to “jam” the conventional social order and illuminate our shared humanity as well as the social and political lines that 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. www.dreamingwall.net