The award, an expanded offshoot of the 1935 Arthur W. Wheelwright Traveling Fellowship previously won by Harvard alums Paul Rudolph and I.M. Pei, has granted Wolf $100,000 to travel the globe in order to realize her two-year research proposal, entitled “Floating City: The Community-Based Architecture of Parade Floats.”
“Gia, whose work is all about imagination, has identified the parade float—in such cities as Rio de Janeiro, Nice, and Goa— as an ephemeral form of architecture both laden with cultural exuberance and remarkable for the communitarian organization it requires,” according to a statement by Rice School of Architecture professor and jury member Farès el-Dahdah. Wolff’s proposal to study floats as an architectural and cultural phenomenal was chosen from a pool of 231 submissions from 45 countries. After working at Acconci Studio, LOT-EK, Adjaye Associates, and Architecture Research Office (ARO), the young architect (only 35 years old) now leads her own practice. Its focus, according to Wolff, is “performance and its use of space and objects to convey narrative, form, and emotion,” a description dually applicable to the interplay between a float and a city.
— Janelle Zara