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RIBA International Awards 2021

RIBA International Prize 2021

Awarded to the most transformative building which demonstrates visionary, innovative thinking, excellence of execution, and makes a distinct contribution to its users and physical context.

RIBA International Prize 2021 winner: Friendship Hospital, Satkhira

Friendship Hospital, Satkhira, an eighty-bed community hospital situated in a remote rural area of southwest Bangladesh, designed by Bangladeshi architect Kashef Chowdhury/URBANA, has won the RIBA International Prize 2021.

The low-cost building was designed to work with and withstand the tangible climate change effects of rising sea water in the surrounding area. A series of courtyards bring in natural light and ventilation, while a canal traversing the site collects valuable rainwater, since the groundwater remains unusable for most purposes. This channel of water adds visual relief, helps the micro-climatic cooling and provides a welcome distraction from the anxiety and unhappiness related to illness, for both patients and their relatives.

The RIBA International Prize is awarded every two years to a building which exemplifies design excellence and architectural ambition and delivers meaningful social impact. It is one of the world’s most rigorously judged architectural awards, with every longlisted building visited by international experts. 

The Friendship Hospital, Satkhira was chosen from a shortlist of three exceptional new buildings by the Grand Jury, chaired by world-renowned multi-disciplinary French architect Odile Decq.

Odile Decq said:
“Friendship Hospital embodies an architecture of humanity and protection that reflects the Friendship NGO’s philanthropic mission to provide dignity and hope to communities through social innovation.

Kashef Chowdhury/URBANA has achieved a building designed with a human touch which is deftly integrated with its surroundings and celebrates local, and traditional crafted materials. The hospital is very relevant to critical global challenges, such as unequal access to healthcare and the crushing impact of climate breakdown on vulnerable communities. It is a demonstration of how beautiful architecture can be achieved through good design when working with a relatively modest budget and with difficult contextual constraints. This hospital is a celebration of a building dedicated to humans.”

Banner photograph © Asif Salman, Courtesy of URBANA

The Grand Jury


RIBA International Prize grand jury 2021

The RIBA International Prize Grand Jury 2021 will be led by world-renowned multidisciplinary French architect and urban planner, Odile Decq, with: 

  • Es Devlin OBE, acclaimed artist and stage designer
  • Jeanne Gang, Founder of Studio Gang, headquartered in Chicago
  • Rossana Hu, Founding Partner of Shanghai based international architecture firm Neri&Hu
  • Gustavo Utrabo, Winner of the 2018 RIBA International Prize and Emerging Architect Prize

RIBA International Emerging Architect 2021

Hooba Design Group is the recipient of the RIBA International Emerging Architect 2021 for the project Kohan Ceram Central Office Building, in Tehran, Iran. The judges were impressed by the restraint, invention and elegance of the building, commissioned by Kohan Ceram Brick Manufacturing Company to design their headquarters.


 Koham Ceram Central Office Building
Koham Ceram Central Office Building, Tehran, Iran. Photograph © Parham Taghioff

Global Media partners

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ArchDaily | Global Partner
Since 2008, the world’s most visited architecture website, ArchDaily serves as main source of architectural knowledge and inspiration for people all around the globe. Publishing up-to-date information on latest architectural projects and solutions, ArchDaily is proud to help build better homes and cities and be a useful tool on the way to a better world. 

Dezeen | Professional Partner
This year we are working with Dezeen, as our professional partner, bringing their critical eye and pioneering editorial voice in the architecture and design community to bear on this prestigious award.

Wallpaper* | Lifestyle Partner
We are pleased to be working again with Wallpaper* as our lifestyle partner, having worked with Wallpaper* in 2016* to host a panel discussion at the Venice Biennale and to explore the intersection between architecture and design - Wallpaper* offer a creative take and personal insight on the human face of the industry and help us to convey the role buildings have to play in everyday life.


Union Internationale des Architectes logoAssociation of European Architects logoIndia Design Forum logo

The RIBA International Prize is in association with the Union Internationale des Architectes (UIA) and the India Design Forum, a pioneering initiative to promote innovative design thinking in India. The Prize is also in collaboration with Architects' Council of Europe (ACE), and our counterpart organisations around the globe.