Winners of the 2012 RIBA President's Medals announced at London ceremony

The winners of the 2012 President’s Medals were announced last night at a special ceremony at the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) in central London. The prestigious RIBA Presidents Medals, which date back to 1836, reward talent and excellence in the study of architecture.

Sunbloc’, a collaborative project by a team of students from London Metropolitan University, received the RIBA Silver Medal (awarded for best post-graduate design work).

Sunbloc is a lightweight and heavily-insulated prototype house constructed using a pioneering system of foam blocks and steel cables. The inexpensive structure is designed to produce more electricity than it consumes over an annual cycle. The judges rewarded the detailed study and solid body of research involved in the project and were highly impressed with the team’s entrepreneurial spirit and ability to complete a real building. The students were tutored by Eva Diu, Nathaniel Kolbe, Jonas Lundberg, Toby Burgess and Iain Maxwell.

Vidhya Pushpanathan from the Architectural Association was awarded the Bronze Medal (for best undergraduate design project) for her project ‘The Depository of Forgotten Monuments’.

‘The Depository of Forgotten Monuments’ addresses Moscow’s paradox of deconstruction and reconstruction. The project suggests a flexible architectural framework. As both a curatorial strategy and an urban prototype, it suggests an opportunity for a hybrid between the city’s cultural and commercial art sites and an allowance for the co-existence of past and future. The project was deemed by the judges to reveal a fresh and sophisticated quality of thinking. Vidhya Pushpanathan was tutored by Maria Fedorchenko and Tatiana von Preussen.

Matthew Leung from the Bartlett School of Architecture, UCL, was awarded the Dissertation Medal for his work ‘Oriental Orientalism in Japan – the case of Yokohama Chinatown’.

The judges considered this a highly accomplished dissertation on the development of a pocket of Chinese style within a major Japanese city. Drawing from an impressive breadth of sources, Matthew Leung meticulously composes a picture that brings a careful reading of history to bear upon the complex contemporary reality. Critically astute, beautifully written and illustrated, this piece never loses sight of the architectural dimension of its topic, offering a thoroughly convincing and sophisticated discussion of an unexpected and topical subject. The dissertation was supervised by Professor Murray Fraser.

RIBA President Angela Brady said:

'Congratulations to our deserving President’s Medal winners who have fought-off tough competition from the best students of architecture from around the world and truly excelled with their innovative, challenging and thought-provoking projects.

'2012 has been a record-breaking year for the RIBA President’s Medals with the highest number of entries ever in the 176 year history of the awards. It is an honour to present these awards to the future trailblazers of the architecture profession.'

A number of other important student awards were also presented at tonight's ceremony:

Bronze Medal Commendation

Paddi Alice Benson from the University of Cambridge for ‘Remember Berlin - kunsthochschule archipelago’

Bronze Medal Commendation

Richard Breen from the University of Newcastle for ‘Afterimage - Projected Morphology: a cyclotel created from perspectives’

Dissertation Medal High Commendation

Kirti Durelle from the University of Sheffield for ‘Poetic Creation: the magical metaphor of architectural design - an investigation into the relationship of exoteric and esoteric dimensions in the practice of architecture and alchemy’

Dissertation Medal Commendation

Stephen Marshall from the Architectural Association for ‘Here isn't now - Ballard, Silvertown and the forces of time’

Dissertation Medal Commendation

Tom Sykes from Cardiff University for ‘The Site as Muse: Georges Perec and Walking into Topophilia’

SOM Travelling Fellowships

Part 1: Paddi Alice Benson from the University of Cambridge

Part 2: Rebecca Roberts from London Metropolitan University

Serjeant Awards for Excellence in Drawing

Part 1

Vidhya Pushpanathan from the Architectural Association  for ‘The Depository of Forgotten Monuments’

Part 2

Martin Tang from Bartlett School of Architecture, UCL, for ‘Manual for Eternal Autumnal Micro-climates: re-imagining Kyoto as the city of a thousand autumns’

RIBA Donaldson Medal

Brook Lin was awarded the RIBA Donaldson Medal. The winner of this medal is selected by the Bartlett School of Architecture to the student who graduates top of the class at Part I.



Notes to editors

  • For further press information contact Howard Crosskey in the RIBA Press Office: 020 7307 3761
  • The RIBA Silver Medal winning students from London Metropolitan University are YiJing He, Steven Watson, Stephen Osborn, Nkesi Nduka, Lucas Dowsett, Krists Ernstson, Guillermo Martinez Pajares, Gustavo Balague, Georgia Neesham, David Rieser, Chris Perry, Anna Nenaseva, Anca Trestian and Alex Potter
  • To download supportive images from this year’s winners visit:
  • A full list of this year’s entries can be found at, the awards website, which also holds an archive of images and dissertation synopses from nominated projects and dissertations since 1998
  • The judging panel for the Bronze and Silver Medals included:

       Chair, Oliver Richards: ORMS; RIBA Vice-President Education

       Eva Castro: Architectural Association, Plasma Studio and GroundLab

       Anna Liu: Tonkin Liu

       Chris Wilkinson: Wilkinson Eyre Architects

  • The judging panel for the Dissertation Medal included:

       Chair, Dr Alexandra Stara: Kingston University

       Dr Nathaniel Coleman: University of Newcastle

       Professor Mark Cousins: Architectural Association

       Dr Samantha Martin-Mcauliffe: University College Dublin

  • The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) President’s Medals Student Awards are considered the most prestigious and long-lasting awards in architectural education in the world. First awarded in 1836 as the RIBA Silver Medal for an architectural essay (and awarded from 1855 to ‘Measured Drawings’ produced by a talented graduate), this is the RIBA’s longest-living award (preceding the Royal Gold Medal, which was established in 1848). In 1984, the Institute decided to create a Bronze Medal to reward a Part 1 student while the Silver Medal was awarded to a Part 2 student. In 2001, a Dissertation Medal was added. Since its early days, the aim of the awards has been to promote excellence in the study of architecture, to reward talent and to encourage architectural debate worldwide.
  • Each year the RIBA invites approximately 300 schools of architecture from over 60 countries to nominate design projects and dissertations produced by their students. Winners are announced in December at the annual President’s Medals ceremony at the RIBA headquarters in London where the Bronze, Silver and Dissertation Medals are presented