Notes to editors
For images or further information contact Mina Vadon in the RIBA Press Office on 020 7307 3761 or email@example.com
Being awarded an RIBA International Fellowship allows recipients to use the initials Int FRIBA after their name.
Alvaro Siza will be presented with the Royal Gold Medal both with a private audience with the Queen at Buckingham Palace and at the Royal Gold Medal dinner at the RIBA on Thursday 26 February 2009.
The RIBA Royal Gold Medal, International and Honorary Fellows are managed by the RIBA Trust. The RIBA Trust manages the cultural assets of the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA), including the internationally recognised collections of the British Architectural Library. It is the UK's national architecture centre, delivering the RIBA Awards and RIBA Stirling Prize (live on Channel 4); a full programme of lectures, exhibitions, tours and other events; and an education programme.
The RIBA International Fellows honour was created in 2006. It replaces the RIBA Honorary Fellowship for non-UK architects whose outstanding work the RIBA wishes to mark. All existing non-UK architect Honorary Fellows were invited to become International Fellows. Odile Decq, Kazuyo Sejima, Herman Hertzberger, Jacques Herzog and Pierre de Meuron, Kenzo Tange, Yoshio Taniguchi and Peter Zumthor, amongst many others, have all been previously awarded this honour.
The Royal Gold Medal for the promotion of architecture was inaugurated by Queen Victoria in 1848 and is conferred by the Sovereign annually on a distinguished architect or person "whose work has promoted, either directly or indirectly, the advancement of architecture." Previous winners include: Le Corbusier (1953), Sir Giles Gilbert Scott (1925), Frank Gehry (2000), Archigram (2002), Frei Otto (2005) and Toyo Ito (2006), Herzog & de Meuron (2007) and Edward (Ted) Cullinan (2008).
2009 marks the 175th Anniversary of the RIBA. To celebrate this milestone the Institute has planned a programme of special events which look back with pride on some of the most significant achievements of the past while also looking forward to the years ahead. We aim to use our position as the home of architecture in the UK to engage an even wider audience in the vitally important architectural issues which have such a large influence on the way we live and work both now and in the future. Our programme for the year includes major loans to the Palladio 500 exhibition at the Royal Academy of Arts and our collaboration with the Barbican centre to bring the highly-acclaimed exhibition; Le Corbusier: The Art of Architecture to London. We are also running a national schools competition in collaboration with Construction Skills to design a new parliament building which coincides with the 175th anniversary of the current Barry/Pugin Palace of Westminster. Our major annual events such as the RIBA Stirling Prize, the Royal Gold Medal and Annual Lecture will also be given special prominence during the year. In raising our profile for our anniversary year we hope to demonstrate better the breadth of our activities and convey our passion for good design and designers, in the built environment. For further information go to www.architecture.com/175
RIBA INTERNATIONAL FELLOWS 2009 CITATIONS
Abalos and Herreros (Spain)
Iñaki Abalos and Juan Herreros founded their practice over twenty years ago and, as a consequence of their teaching and editorial, research and design activities, have created their own identity as architects, demonstrating commitment to the contemporary world and concern for the urban context of new buildings. Their pragmatic approach to architecture is typified by their interest in the skyscraper, which dates back to the exhibition they designed early in their careers (1987) on the skyscrapers of Le Corbusier. They have gone on to build their own examples with the Barcelona apartment block, the Woermann Tower in Las Palmas and Sociopolis, the Torre Solar in Valencia (all completed in 2005).
The work of Abelos and Herreros avoids any easy stylistic category. It is based on a playful engagement with context. The architects take something from the place and usually bring something unexpected from elsewhere; a material, a pattern or a way of making. They are committed to a clear tectonic articulation of constructional form but they always bring a marvellous quality of lightness. There is a sense that the building is only just there and might disappear or fade at any moment. The buildings are often made of ordinary things, but they are somehow transformed by the idea.
Gigon and Guyer (Switzerland)
Annette Gigon and Mike Guyer have been working together for nearly two decades and have become a fixed point of reference for younger Swiss architects. Early success came with their exemplary contribution to Swiss museums and they have since consolidated their architectural approach with international competition projects, housing and public buildings. Despite their apparent simplicity their buildings are highly considered, inventive solutions, sometimes appearing to de-materialise into the surroundings, such as their 1992 Kirchner Museum Davos, the 1995 Erweiterung Kunstmuseum in Winterthur or the 1998 Sammlung Oskar Reinhart, Römerholz also in Winterthur; sometimes concerning themselves with materiality in the use of titanium in the family house in Graubünden (2007), with corten at the archaeological Museum and Park Kalkriese in Osnabrück (2002) or by using iron-pigmented concrete on the signal box in Zürich (1999). Gigon and Guyer manage to achieve striking, even theatrical effects, without appearing to have tried. It is a fine balancing act between reserve and showiness. Their work constantly provides us with a sense of epiphany. It shows consistent control of the materials of architecture. It appears at once matter-of-fact and glorious.
Kengo Kuma (Japan)
Kengo Kuma established his practice in 1990, with the aim to utilize materials in an expressive manner and to recover the traditions of Japanese buildings, reinterpreting them for the 21st century. He has become well known for his use of glass, wood and stone in works as diverse as private residences, Buddhist temples, and art museums. His buildings blur their outlines and blend into their particular landscapes, be they in the country such as the house Great (Bamboo) Wall, and Nakagawa-machi Bato Hiroshige Museum of Art (which also uses structural timber); or in the city such as in the sleek urban monument of the Suntory Museum in Tokyo or the Fukusaki Hanging Garden offices in Osaka.
Lacaton and Vassal (France)
The Paris-based practice thatAnne Lacaton and Jean-Philippe Vassal founded together aims to create buildings which are generous in space and spirit. The duo work at 'the edge of architecture' on social issues and are keen to create a better living environment through social housing that incorporates 'freespace' that residents can use as they wish. The same principles apply to all their work, large and small., from their single dwellings, such as the flexible living space of Latapie House, Floriac (1993) which incorporates a large greenhouse-style living space with moving wall panels and flexible floor plans, to the large scale of their Nantes School of Architecture (2008) in which a big proportion of the space is unassigned. Their real passion is lightness. This could be the space beneath the broad sky, but really it means the skill, available to few designers, to do just enough or even to do nothing at all. It requires extraordinary judgement and tact to work in this way. This is architecture closely tuned to the music of what actually happens.
Eduardo Souto de Moura (Portugal)
Eduardo Souto de Moura produces architecture that achieves harmony and balance between the natural and the man-made. Buildings such as the Braga Stadium, Braga, Portugal, the interiors of the Siza's Portuguese Pavilion at Expo 98 and his other work with Alvaro Siza such as the Serpentine Pavilion in London in 2005 have attracted attention both within and outside of Portugal, not only because of his capacity for reducing formal means but also his sensitive treatment of situational factors and his ability to demonstrate a complex view of things.
Juhani Pallasmaa (Finland)
Juhani Pallasmaa is one of the most eminent and influential architectural thinkers in the world. His voluminous production of articles and books have increasingly identified him as a powerful advocate of the understanding of architecture as something appreciated by all the senses, meaning that architects need to design with more than just visual criteria in mind. He is not only a fine writer, but a distinguished practising exponent of architecture as well, with building credits as diverse as the Kampi Centre, a giant shopping centre and transport interchange in Helsinki and the renovation an art museum in Lapland and of Helsinki's Old Market Hall.
UN Studio (Netherlands)
Ben van Berkel & Caroline Bos are co-founders of UN Studio, an international architectural practice with extensive experience in the fields of urbanism, infrastructure, and public, private and utility buildings. Best known for the much-praised Mercedes Benz Museum in Stuttgart and the Erasmus Bridge in Rotterdam which has become an emblem for the city, the practice strives to make a significant contribution to the discipline of architecture and continually to develop the quality of its design and technology.