Hats off to Taiwanese architect Hseih Ying-Chun for winning the Curry Stone Design Grand Prize and taking home the $100,000 grant. Created as a way to champion design with a social bent, the Curry Stone Design Prize honors innovators who create projects that improve daily living conditions for people around the world. Hseih Ying-Chun has been working mainly in rural areas to deploy disaster relief structures.
In 1999, his relief efforts were directed to Nantou County in Rural Taiwan where a 7.3 magnitude earthquake killed 2,500 people and leveled 50,000 buildings. Using low-tech techniques, lightweight and regional materials, and local labor, he helped reconstruct the structures, engaging the community in the process.
In 2008, his relief efforts were directed toward central China where 70,000 people were killed in the Sichuan earthquake. He helped raise 500 structures and built simple composting sanitation systems. In 2009, he worked with those impacted by the Morakot typhoon in Taiwan. Thanks to Hseih Ying-Chun, people receive both a roof over their heads and an education in design and hands-on construction to help them down the line.