The winners of the 2013 President’s Medals were announced last night at a special event at the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) in central London. The prestigious RIBA President’s Medals, which date back to 1836, reward talent and excellence in the study of architecture.
Ben Hayes, from the Bartlett School of Architecture (UCL) received the RIBA Silver Medal (awarded to best design project at Part 2) for ‘Kizhi Island’. This proposal is for a museum landscape that will restore and reassemble 250 wooden Orthodox churches on Kizhi Island in Northern Russia. The project 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. ‘Kizhi Island’ addresses two challenges: it protects and restores a fragile heritage that is on the verge of extinction and dramatically redesigns the visitor experience on the island. Ben was tutored by Yeoryia Manolopoulou, Niall McLaughlin and Michiko Sumi.
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 over 50,000 people who inhabit the 455 islands in the archipelago 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 providing 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. Ness was tutored by Rhys Cannon and Ben Addy.
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 as an experimental socialist utopia instigated by Joseph Stalin, asking how a political ideology of socialism was developed spatially in the city during the years 1930 to 1953. It seeks to determine how the current day city is both characterised by its past and how it is adapting to the social and political changes of Russia’s contemporary capitalist economy. The judges were unanimous that this was the most accomplished piece of work and the clear winner. They praised the dissertation for its excellent research across textual sources situating the subject in a historical, theoretical and socio-political context while also drawing from thorough and convincing first-hand experience of the city of Magnitogorsk and its people.
RIBA President Stephen Hodder said of the winners ”Congratulations to Ben, Ness and Tamsin, all deserving recipients of the President’s Medal. They overcame intense competition from the best students of architecture around the world and truly shined with their innovative, challenging and thought-provoking projects.
“2013 has been year of exceptional 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’