Associate Professor Catie Newell is one of two winners of the inaugural WOJR/Civitella Ranieri Architecture Prize competition. The competition is co-hosted by WOJR, a design firm based in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and the Civitella Ranieri Foundation, a residency program for artists and writers located in a 15th-century castle in the Umbria region of Italy. Newell will travel to Umbria in 2020 to spend six weeks constructing a temporary architectural installation on the Civitella Ranieri property.
In her practice, Newell — who is drawn to the richness and unpredictability of existing spaces, and intrigued by material operations that begin where something unanticipated has already happened — uses installation and photography, material manipulation, illumination and darkness, and implications of occupation to intervene in spaces undergoing transition. She chooses materials, their tectonic, and her method of fabrication for their relevance to the site and its history, amplifying the stories and truths that the site reveals. Often ephemeral, her work accentuates the site’s present moment and the moment’s short lifespan; her works exist only months at most. She will work with the site and the town to determine the specifics of her installation once she is in residence at Civitella Ranieri.
The 2019 awardee is Alejandro Haiek, from Venezuela. Newell and Haiek were chosen from a group of 65 nominees from around the world.