2013 RIBA President’s Medals winners announced

The winners of the 2013 President’s Medals were announced tonight (Wednesday 4 December) at an awards ceremony held at the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) in central London. In what seems to be unprecedented in the history of the awards (and in spite of a completely anonymous judging process), all three top medals were awarded to students from the Bartlett School of of Architecture, UCL.

Regarded as the most prestigious awards in architectural education in the world, the RIBA President’s Medals were first awarded in 1836.

Ben Hayes, from the Bartlett School of Architecture, UCL, received the RIBA Silver Medal (awarded to best design project at Part 2 worldwide) for ‘Kizhi Island‘, a proposal for a museum landscape on Kizhi Island in Northern Russia where 250 wooden Orthodox churches will be restored and reassembled. Through a series of intelligent interventions, the student explores the changing relationship between the Russian landscape and national identity, tracing back the influence of Romanticism at the start of the nineteenth century and looking at the wide-scale impact of Soviet collectivisation and de-ruralisation. As a design project, ‘Kizhi Island’ addresses two key challenges: it protects and restores a fragile heritage that is on the verge of extinction and dramatically redesigns the visitor experience on the island.

Ness Lafoy, also from the Bartlett School of Architecture, UCL, was awarded the Bronze Medal (for best Part 1 design project) for her project ‘Helsinki Archipelago Town Hall’, a proposal for a mainland hub for the 50,000 people who inhabit the 455 islands that surrounds the capital of Finland. The Helsinki Archipelago Town Hall provides a warm clubhouse and accommodation for the islanders’ overnight trips to Helsinki, it improves connections between the mainland and the archipelago by introducing a postal service to remote islands, and it provides a place for the Island Council to meet so that they can begin to improve transport links and promote the archipelago to ensure it is not forgotten.Tamsin Hanke was awarded the Dissertation Medal for her work ‘Magnitogorsk: Utopian vision of spatial socialism’, supervised by Sophia Psarra at the Bartlett School of Architecture, UCL. The dissertation looks at the conception, realization and present state of the Russian city of Magnitogorsk, a city on the extreme south of the eastern face of the Ural mountain range created by Joseph Stalin as an experimental socialist utopia. Through detailed research across textual sources that situate the subject in a historical, theoretical and socio-political context, the dissertation investigates how the political ideology of socialism was developed spatially in the city between 1930 and 1953. In addition, it seeks to determine how the current day city is both characterised by its past and is adapting to the social and political changes of Russia’s contemporary capitalist economy.RIBA President Stephen Hodder said of the winners ”Congratulations to the deserving President’s Medal winners who fought-off fierce competition from the best students of architecture from around the world and truly shined with their innovative, challenging and thought-provoking projects this year. 2013 has been another year of excellent entries for the RIBA President’s Medals which continues to highlight and reward the very best talent from around the world. It’s been a pleasure to present these awards to the future leaders of our profession.”

Other student awards presented at this evening’s ceremony were:

Silver Medal High Commendation:
Amy Perkins from London Metropolitan University for ‘Outer City Settlement: Reassessing the suburban situation of Hampstead Garden Suburb’

Silver Medal Commendation:
Vladislav Velkov from the University of Architecture, Civil Engineering and Geodesy (Bulgaria) for ‘Evolution of a building. The unexplored potential of a sugar factory in Sofia’

Bronze Medal High Commendation:
Pierre Blanc from London Metropolitan University for ‘Gubbio Lido: Recovering open space within the walled city’

Bronze Medal Commendations:
Thomas Bush from De Montfort University for ‘Myocardial Augmentation Facility, Orvieto, Italy’
Minghui Ke from Kingston University for ‘UNESCO World Heritage: A contemporary art museum for Santa Chiara in Pisa, Italy

Dissertation Medal Commendations:
Leah Hogan from University College Dublin for ‘The Kahn Legacy: The primacy of the idea’
Shapur Keshvari from Kingston University for ‘Rethinking the Tholos in the Athenian Agora’
Srisaravanan Subramaniam from the National University of Singapore for ‘Seva & the Shrine: Transcending the boundaries of the Hindu temple in Singapore’

Serjeant Awards for Excellence in Drawing
Part 1: Razna Begum from the University of Greenwich for ‘Grunewald’s Athenaeum’
Part 2: Kirsty Badenoch from Aarhus School of Architecture (Denmark) for ‘New Lohachara: A dialogue between man and the [super]natural’

The UK office of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM) also awarded the SOM Foundation UK Fellowships selected from this year’s entries for the RIBA President’s Medals.

SOM Foundation Fellowship Part 1: Pierre Blanc from London Metropolitan University for ‘Gubbio Lido: Recovering open space within the walled city’
SOM Foundation Fellowship Part 2: Ben Hayes from the Bartlett School of Architecture (UCL) for ‘Kizhi Island’
SOM Foundation Commendation: Amy Perkins from London Metropolitan University for ‘Outer City Settlement: Reassessing the suburban situation of Hampstead Garden Suburb’