The President's Awards for Research celebrates research in the fields of architecture and the built environment. Once again, the awards have attracted interest from around the globe, with entries from China, Australia and Costa Rica and this year’s subject matter has an even greater global representation than usual.
We are pleased to announce that the 2021 RIBA President’s Medal for Research has been awarded to the winner of the Cities and Community category: John Lin and Sony Devabhaktuni from the University of Hong Kong for their project As found houses: Experiments from self-builders in rural China.
John and Sony uncover examples of innovative, sustainable and efficient renovations of vernacular houses done by spontaneous builders in four remote locations in rural China. These regions are geographically distant from each other, climatically diverse and culturally unique. While these typologies are most often studied and discussed with a view toward their preservation as cultural heritage, the research presents a different way of understanding these ancient dwellings: as active sites of design innovation and transformation that respond to changes in ways of life.