Canada Council Announces Prix de Rome prize winners

The Canada Council for the Arts has announced the winners of its Prix de Rome and J.B.C. Watkins Awards. Neeraj Bhatia is the winner of the Professional Prix de Rome, and Kinan Hewitt has won the Emerging Practitioner Prix de Rome. Desiree Valadares was awarded the J.B.C. Watkins Architecture Award.

Neeraj Bhatia is a Toronto architect and urban designer whose work resides at the intersection of politics, infrastructure, and urbanism. Bhatia is the founder of The Open Workshop, a trans-scalar design-research office that examines the

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negotiation between architecture and its territorial environment. As an Associate Professor at the California College of the Arts, Bhatia holds a master’s degree in Architecture and Urbanism from MIT, and a Bachelor of Environmental Studies and Bachelor of Architecture from the University of Waterloo. 

Bhatia received the Professional Prix de Rome in Architecture, which is awarded to a young practitioner of architecture or an architectural firm that has completed their first built works and has demonstrated artistic potential. The prize proposal, entitled “Learning How to Live Together,” is a study of communal housing typologies. Bhatia will travel to Israel to visit various Kibbutzim, Germany to the Baugruppen experiments and Japan, China and Korea to see the Share-Houses.  

Kinan Hewitt is the recipient of the Emerging Practitioners Prix de Rome in Architecture.

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This award is given to a recent graduate from a Canadian architectural school who has demonstrated potential in contemporary architectural design. Hewitt is a graduate from the University of Toronto’s M.Arch program at the John H. Daniels Faculty and currently works at KPMB Architects as a designer. Hewitt’s architectural interests have maintained a focus on the role of the human condition within design.

The Prix de Rome in Architecture for Emerging Practitioners allows recipients to visit architectural buildings and carry out an internship at an internationally renowned architectural firm anywhere in the world. Kinan will research co-housing and design strategies that have served successful co-living arrangements, to investigate an alternative response to the trends of rising housing costs and sentiments of isolation across many Canadian cities.

The J.B.C. Watkins Award: Architecture prize was given to Desiree Valadares, a landscape architect with degrees from the University of Guelph (MLA) and McGill University (M.Arch II). The J.B.C. Watkins Award is offered to a Canadian architectural student pursuing postgraduate studies.

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Valadares is a PhD candidate in the Architectural History program at UC Berkeley’s College of Environmental Design. She studies how historic preservation (U.S.) and heritage conservation (Canada) laws are applied to geographically remote World War II ruins and landscapes in two former U.S. territories, and in the unceded lands of British Columbia.