​RIBA Charles Jencks Award

The RIBA Charles Jencks Award was established with prize money awarded to Charles Jencks from the Nara Gold Medal, which he received in 1992.

Charles Jencks graciously donated this prize money to the RIBA to set up an endowment fund, the interest from which was initially used for an exchange programme between British and Japanese architects. In 2003, the remit of the fund was changed to create an annual award with a remit that has remained untouched since then: to reward an individual (or practice) that has recently made a major contribution simultaneously to the theory and practice of architecture. In addition to prize money, the winner delivers a lecture at the RIBA.

The RIBA remains grateful to Charles and his family, as great supporters of ideas in architecture, and consistently enthusiastic about the power of finely conceived design to move the emotions, and provoke thought. The RIBA Jencks Award typified this, and provided us with some unforgettable evenings at the RIBA. 

Débora Mesa and Antón García-Abril from Ensamble Studio
Débora Mesa and Antón García-Abril from Ensamble Studio, recipient of the 2019 RIBA Charles Jencks Award, with moderator Paul Finch (left) Photo: Jackie King

Selection process

The selection process starts in April or May of each year, when members of a judging panel comprising of the RIBA President, and others agreed by the Jencks family and the RIBA, are invited to submit up to three nominations. A meeting then takes place in May or June at the RIBA, where judges are requested to support their nominations and agree on a winner.

Níall McLaughlin and Charles Jencks at the 2016 award presentation and lecture. Photo: Tina Shaburishvili

Past winners of the RIBA Charles Jencks Award

  • 2019: Débora Mesa and Antón García-Abril, Ensamble Studio
  • 2018: Alejandro Aravena
  • 2016: Níall McLaughlin
  • 2015: Herzog & de Meuron
  • 2013: Benedetta Tagliabue
  • 2012: Rem Koolhaas
  • 2011: Eric Owen Moss
  • 2010: Stephen Holl
  • 2009: Charles Correa
  • 2008: Wolf Prix
  • 2007: Ben van Berkel and Caroline Bos, UN Studio
  • 2006: Zaha Hadid
  • 2005: Alejandro Zaera-Polo and Farshid Moussavi, Foreign Office Architects
  • 2004: Peter Eisenman
  • 2003: Cecil Balmond

For more information, please email RIBA Education or phone +44 (0)20 7307 3616

Jacques Herzog, Pierre de Meuron, Jane Duncan (RIBA President 2015-17) and Charles Jencks at the 2015 award ceremony and lecture. Photo: Andrew Hendry
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