RIBA Norman Foster Travelling Scholarship

Image below © Aaron Hargreaves, Foster + Partners

winner of 2016 RIBA NormaN Foster Travelling Scholarship announced


The 2016 RIBA Norman Foster Travelling Scholarship has been awarded to Abel Feleke from the University of Western Australia for his proposal, ‘Weaving the Urban Fabric: Examining the Significance of Community’.

Abel’s study will take him to China, India, Ethiopia, Nigeria, Mexico and Brazil to learn from the strong sense of community that binds informal settlements. He quotes Kalpana Sharma, “A slum is not a chaotic collection of structures; it is a dynamic collection of individuals who have figured out how to survive in the most adverse of circumstances”, and will explore the intricate social networks that have evolved in these environments.

The scholarship jury was chaired by Lord Foster with Julia Barfield (Marks Barfield Architects), RIBA President Jane Duncan, Professor Flora Samuel (University of Reading); and Stefan Behling, Spencer de Grey, and Piers Heath of Foster + Partners.

The jury highly commended ‘Mapping In-Betweenness: A multi-disciplinary study of transient refugee camps’ by Seyedeh Tahmineh Hooshyar Emami from the Bartlett School of Architecture, University College London. Seyedeh wins a camera for her proposal to investigate what the response of architects should be to the refugee crisis in Europe.

The winning work can be downloaded below:



For more information, please contact education.temp@riba.org.

about the scholarship 

The RIBA Norman Foster Travelling Scholarship has been running since 2007. 

The spirit of the scholarship is based on Lord Foster's own experience as a student of architecture: 

'As a student I won a prize that allowed me to spend a summer travelling through Europe to study first hand buildings and cities that I knew only from the pages of books. It was a revelation - liberating and exhilarating in so many ways. Today it is my privilege to fund the RIBA Norman Foster Travelling Scholarship, which I hope will have a lasting legacy - offering the chance for discovery and the inspiration for exciting new work - for generations to come.'

The topic of the research should relate to the survival of our cities and towns and fall under one of the following themes:

  • learning from the past to inform the future
  • the future of society
  • density of settlements
  • sustainability
  • use of resources
  • quality of urban life
  • transport

The travel should take place between June-October.


  • must be enrolled in an RIBA or CAA validated degree programmes or in a programme from a specially invited school or architecture centre AND
  • must have successfully completed at least the first year of a Part 1 degree.

Each school only can submit one application produced by one student.


Thanks to the generosity and support of Lord Foster and Foster + Partners, the scholarship has supported nine students seeking the same inspiration. You can read about their travel experiences below.

 previous recipients 

 previous entries