The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) has named Professor Nigel Coates as the winner of the 2012 RIBA Annie Spink Award for Excellence in Architectural Education.
The biennial award, established in 2000 by architect Herbert Spink FRIBA as a lasting memorial to his wife Annie, was conceived as an honour for the ‘advancement of architectural education’. It is open to individuals who have made a significant contribution to architectural education.
RIBA Director of Education and chair of the judging panel, David Gloster said:
'On behalf of the RIBA and the our judging panel, I would like to congratulate Professor Nigel Coates for receiving the 2012 RIBA Annie Spink Award in recognition of his sustained impact on architectural education for over three decades. Not only in his early years at the Architectural Association did he inspire many of his own students, but he pioneered a distinctive culture and pedagogy at the Royal College of Art that influenced many more indirectly through its wider influence on the landscape of British architectural education.'
On receiving the news of the award, Nigel Coates said:
'Over the years I’ve often been referred to as an enfant terrible, so clearly it’s time to bury that idea. This is an honour from the architectural heartland, and it comes as a warm and wonderful surprise.'
Nigel Coates was taught by Bernard Tschumi at the Architectural Association, before going on to teach Diploma Unit 10 with his former tutor, in 1978 he took over the unit. He introduced ‘Transavantgarde’ art techniques, picked up from New York, to challenge the conventions of architectural representation. In 1982/83 the work became more pointedly political as the students (and Coates himself) depicted proposals for a memorial to Thatcher’s Falklands war.
In 1995 Coates became Head of the Architecture Department at the Royal College of Art, where he led his teaching staff to develop their own critical strands and lines of enquiry until 2011. He has combined a successful career in architectural practice and product design with his life in academia.
He has also used writing to propagate his ideas, most notably in his book Guide to Ecstacity, and more recently, with the publication of Narrative Architecture in the prestigious AD Primer series (Wiley, 2011).