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Juan Castellón’s Shade: Cool and Water for Irrigation

Juan Castellón’s Shade: Cool and Water for Irrigation

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A sustainable shade system installation created by Rice Architecture’s Juan José Castellón has been selected one of the three finalists for the 2024 Forge Prize by the American Institute of Steel Construction (AISC).

Titled “Building Ecologies,” Castellón’s project was created in collaboration with Rice’s School of Architecture, the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering and the Shepherd School of Music. Housed at POST Houston, the installation features a modular system that uses steel tubes and hollow ceramic pieces to provide cooling shade while capturing rainwater for irrigation on urban rooftops and public areas.

“The selection of this project as finalist for the Forge Prize represents a great honor and an acknowledgment of this interdisciplinary research model promoted by Rice University bridging scientific research, engineering, arts and architecture,” said Castellón, an assistant professor of architecture. “I am proud to lead this collective effort that responds to Rice’s mission to aspire to pathbreaking research and contribution to the betterment of our world.”

Future development plans for this collaborative project include implementing the installation as an outdoor pavilion. Castellón says he hopes the Betty and Jacob Friedman Holistic Garden can serve as its next location.

The Forge Prize, established by the (AISC) in 2018, recognizes visionary emerging architects, architecture educators and graduate students for design concepts that embrace innovations in steel as a primary structural component. The three finalists now move to the final stage, which features a live presentation of their ideas on

The three finalists have already won $5,000 each from the first round of the competition, and the winner will win $10,000. The finalists are currently working with AISC full member steel fabricators to refine their concepts for a final presentation.

This news release can be found online at

Follow Rice News and Media Relations on Twitter @RiceUNews.

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Feature Image Photo by Divya Pande


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