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RIBA announces winners of 2021 President’s Medal and Awards for Research

The RIBA has announced the winners of the 2021 President’s Medal and Awards for Research, celebrating the best research in the fields of architecture and the built environment.

25 January 2022

Highway House, Wooden House © John Lin

The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) has announced the winners of the 2021 President’s Medal and Awards for Research, celebrating the best research in the fields of architecture and the built environment.

The 2021 President’s Medal for Research has been awarded to John Lin and Sony Devabhaktuni from the University of Hong Kong for their project As Found Houses, which explores experiments from self-builders in rural China.

Three projects have also been given President’s Awards for Research in the categories of Education, Cities and Community and History and Theory; and a project exploring the significance of storage design within the home has been commended.

The three award-winning projects are:

Education (2021 annual theme):

Will I Cause Harm?: Practising Ethics Guides for Built Environment Research

by Dr David Roberts, Prof Jane Rendell & Dr Yael Padan from the Bartlett School of Architecture at UCL; and Ariana Markowitz & Dr Emmanuel Osuteye from the Bartlett Development Planning Unit at UCL.

Cities and Community:

As Found Houses: Experiments from Self-builders in Rural China

by John Lin & Sony Devabhaktuni from the Department of Architecture at the University of Hong Kong.

History and Theory:

Beyond the National Art Schools: Thin-Tile Vaulting in Cuba after the Revolution

by Mohammad Wesam Al Asali & Dr Michael H. Ramage from the Department of Architecture at the University of Cambridge; and Dania González Couret from the Universidad Tecnológica de la Habana, José Antonio Echeverría, Cuba.

A commendation has been awarded to Professor Elena Marco at the University of The West of England for Stuff and Space in the Home: Space for Storage as the forgotten design and well-being dimension in standardised housing, which was submitted for consideration in the Design and Technical category.

RIBA President Simon Allford said:

“From the highly distinguished study of long-forgotten homes adapted by villagers in China, to the detailed exploration of Cuban vaulting, to the project that looks at embedding ethics into the practice of research itself – I commend each of these thought-provoking studies for the contribution they make to our knowledge of architecture and practice. Congratulations to all researchers for the valuable time and resource they have spent to further our understanding of these specialised subjects.”


Notes to editors:

  1. Media contact:
  2. Images of the 2021 RIBA President’s Medal for Research and RIBA President’s Awards for Research can be downloaded here.
  3. The jury for the 2021 RIBA President’s Awards for Research comprised:
  • Chair: Professor Tim Sharpe (Head of the Department of Architecture, University of Strathclyde)
  • Julia Roberts (Partner, Education and Research Sector Lead Hawkins/Brown)
  • Fran Bradshaw (Partner, Anne Thorne Architects and AECB Trustee)
  • Dr Deljana Iossifova (Associate Professor of Urban Studies, School of Environment, Education and Development at the University of Manchester and Director of the Confucius Institute)
  • Tumpa Husna Yasmin Fellows (Architect and Co-founder of Our Building Design and Mannan Foundation Trust, Researcher and Founder of FAME collective and Academic at London School of Architecture)
  • Professor Adam Sharr (Professor of Architecture, School of Architecture, Planning and Landscape at Newcastle University)
  • Dr Susie West (Senior Lecturer in Art History and Heritage, Open University and Trustee at the Society of Architectural Historians of Great Britain)
  1. The RIBA President's Awards for Research were established in 2006 in order to reward and encourage outstanding research in architecture carried out by students, academics and practitioners. The theme and dates for 2022 President’s Awards for Research will be announced in March 2022. For general enquiries about the President’s Awards for Research contact:
  2. RIBA Future Architects is our network and community for future and emerging architects, designed to support, inspire and provide a voice during the transition from study to practice. Follow us on Instagram @RIBAEducation for advice and information about studying architecture, exclusive events and opportunities.
  3. The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) is a global professional membership body that serves its members and society in order to deliver better buildings and places, stronger communities and a sustainable environment. Follow @RIBA on Twitter for regular updates.

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