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RIBA announces six buildings in running for new global prize for architecture

RIBA International Prize shortlist

27 October 2016

  • The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) announces the buildings on the shortlist for its new global architecture award, the RIBA International Prize
  • The RIBA awards committee visited buildings in over 20 countries in 5 continents this summer
  • A further selection of 21 buildings were recognised by the jury for the RIBA Award for International Excellence
  • The RIBA International Emerging Architect prize recognises the achievement of architects in the earlier stages of their career who are working on global projects
  • The winner of the first RIBA International Prize will be announced on Thursday, 24 November 2016
  • For more press details please contact

The six finalists for the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) International Prize 2016 have been announced today (Thursday 27 October). The buildings will now be visited by the Grand Jury of the prize before the winner is announced on Thursday 24 November 2016.

The selection follows a rigorous judging process which saw the RIBA awards committee travel to 30 buildings across 5 continents before choosing six buildings which will be visited again in November. Setting a new global standard for architectural achievement, the prize will be judged by a grand jury of experts chaired by world-renowned architect, Lord Richard Rogers of Riverside.

Projects demonstrate a range of innovative responses to the role of public architecture, providing major new additions to their contexts and communities.

The refined restoration of an existing industrial complex and newly constructed contemporary arts centre in The Azores (Arquipelago Contemporary Arts Centre); a radical new culture centre and public space in the capital of Azerbaijan, (Heydar Aliyev Centre); a new museum of contemporary art in the heart of Mexico City (Museo Jumex); a new civic library and concert hall in northern Norway (Stormen Concert Hall, Theatre and Public Library); a war memorial in Northern France engraved with names of the thousands who died in WWI (The Ring of Remembrance, International WWI Memorial of Notre-Dame-de-Lorette) and a university of engineering in Lima (UTEC - Universidad de Ingenieria y Tecnologia).

The finalists in contention for the RIBA International Prize are as follows (alphabetically):

Building Location Architect Building type

Arquipelago Contemporary Arts Centre

Ribeira Grande, The Azores

Menos é Mais, Arquitectos Associados with João Mendes Ribeiro Arquitecto, Lda

Restoration / Conservation

Heydar Aliyev Centre

Baku, Azerbaijan

Zaha Hadid Architects with DiA Holding


Museo Jumex

Mexico City, Mexico

David Chipperfield Architects with Taller Abierto de Arquitectura y Urbanismo (TAAU)


Stormen Concert Hall, Theatre and Public Library

Bodø, Norway

DRDH Architects

Civic / Culture

The Ring of Remembrance, International WWI Memorial of Notre-Dame-de-Lorette

Ablain-Saint-Nazaire, France

Agence d’architecture Philippe Prost (AAPP)


UTEC - Universidad de Ingenieria y Tecnologia

Lima, Peru

Grafton Architects with

Shell Arquitectos


Arquipelago Contemporary Arts Centre (Menos é Mais with João Mendes Ribeiro Arquitecto, Lda) is located in The Azores, an archipelago of nine small islands in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. Restoring the site of an 1890s sweet potato distillery, the building expertly combines restoration, reconstruction and new build, drawing on the history of the building and its distinctive black Basalt exterior to create a restrained, industrial character. Constructed over the course of three years, the process revealed a complex of cloisters and cells in the basement of the old distillery, which have been transformed to display artwork - an ancient backdrop for very contemporary use. The building has become a beacon for progress both locally and internationally, and has made a substantial impact on the local community - showing respect for its past and ambition for the future.

Designed to celebrate Azerbaijan’s independence and first president Heydar Aliyev, Zaha Hadid Architects’ (with DiA Holding) Heydar Aliyev Centre in Baku was completed in 2013 and offers a vibrant programme of arts, music and performance to audiences in the vaulted spaces and distinctive wave-like form that dominates the eastern aspect of the city. The building represents a break from tradition - not least in the post-Soviet landscape of Baku, and now welcomes over 1000 visitors a day as both a public social space and a cultural nucleus for the city.

The complex landscape has been brought together into a single, fluid composition which appears out of the hill. The building is distinctive not only for its scale and undulating form, but for its use of white cladding and paving, a marked departure from the traditional architecture and aesthetic of the city. The heart of the building is found in its sophisticated and welcoming central auditorium; a warm performance space whose innovative use of oak to line and sculpt the interior showcases a sophistication in both vision and joinery.

A structure that celebrates the industrial heritage of its site context in Mexico City, David Chipperfield Architects' (with Taller Abierto de Arquitectura y Urbanismo (TAAU)) Museo Jumex is home to the largest private collection of Latin American contemporary art in the world. Centrally located in a bustling and overcrowded city, the building offers a contemplative space in which visitors can escape the rush of the city.

A large public space is divided across three spacious levels; a glazed Piano Nobile gallery anda flexible secondary space punctuated by a single large window flooding the space with light. The top floor opens out to present the museum’s collection under a soft diffused daylight through original factory roof lights. The quality of light distinctive to Chipperfield’s practice defines the space, as does the consistent sense of quality in the materials and subtle detailing that separate public from work space. A characteristic dialogue of travertine and timber marks the Museo Jumex as a remarkable building.

Stormen Concert Hall and Library has created a new community focus for a small town, with two new civic buildings in Bodø, 100km inside the Arctic Circle. DRDH’s first major building commission, the scheme is expertly stitched into the existing urban fabric, playing off the link to the town centre as well as the nearby harbour and the luminous experience of the Arctic sunshine. With rigorous attention to detail, material and the user’s experience of both the space of the library building and new concert hall spaces, the architect’s design is matched with technical ambition. The concert hall houses three music venues within its structure, and is considered comparable to the New York’s Carnegie Hall as one of the best in the world for symphonic music.

The Ring of Remembrance memorial in Notre-Dame-de-Lorette near Arras commemorates the thousands who died in the region during World War I. The unification of former enemies is the strong idea that underlines AAPP’s design scheme of the ring, inscribing all 600,000 names irrespective of their nationality, creed or rank. Located on the Hill of Lorette the location has long views over the battlefields of the plain of Artois, the piece sits lightly in the landscape, rooted at one end but cantilevers out precariously as the landscape falls away, and representing the fragility of peace

The UTEC in Lima is a new faculty for a 50 year old engineering university to enable young Peruvians to gain engineering qualifications and to encourage social mobility. This powerful statement of a building symbolises a bold and positive future for Peru, and draws on the temperate climate of the city and cultural environment. Grafton Architects with Shell Arquitectos have created an innovative solution to the architectural program in the design of a vertical concrete campus, with open ended spaces of circulation interlinked with a series of suspended platforms that flow in between the structural frame, offering a balance between enclosed spaces and permeability to the exterior.

The RIBA International Prize will be awarded biennially to the most transformative building which demonstrates visionary, innovative thinking, excellence of execution, and makes a distinct contribution to its users and physical context. Unlike any previous RIBA award for architecture, the RIBA International Prize is open to any qualified architect in the world.

In recognition of the quality of the entries on the longlist, the committee have named 21 recipients of an RIBA Award for International Excellence (alphabetically):




Angdong Hospital

Baojing County, China

Rural Urban Framework at HKUrban Lab, the University of Hong Kong

Arquipelago - Contemporary Arts Center

Ribeira Grande, The Azores

Menos é Mais, Arquitectos Associados with João Mendes Ribeiro Arquitecto

Buenos Aires Ciudad Casa de Gobierno

Buenos Aires, Argentina

Foster + Partners with Berdichevsky Cherny Arquitectos & StudioMinond


Dun Laoghaire Co. Dublin, Ireland

carr cotter naessens

Europaallee Baufeld E

Zurich, Switzerland

Caruso St John Architects with Bosshard Vaquer Architekten

European Hansemuseum

Lübeck, Germany

Studio Andreas Heller Architects & Designers

Fine Arts Museum of Asturias


Francisco Mangado - Mangado y Asociados

Fulton Center

New York , USA

Grimshaw, HDR and Page Ayres Cowley Architects

Heydar Aliyev Center

Baku, Azerbaijan

Zaha Hadid Architects with DiA Holding

Invisible House

Hampton, Australia

Peter Stutchbury Architecture

Jockey Club Innovation Tower

Kowloon, Hong Kong

Zaha Hadid Architects

Museo Jumex

Mexico City, Mexico

David Chipperfield Architects with Taller Abierto de Arquitectura y Urbanismo (TAAU)

Oita Prefecture Art Museum

Oita, Japan

Shigeru Ban Architects

Public Library of Constitucion

Constitucion, Chile

Sebastian Irarrazaval Arquitectos

Saint Louis Art Museum

St. Louis, USA

David Chipperfield Architects with HOK



SCDA Architects Pte Ltd

St Angela's College Cork

Cork, Ireland

O'Donnell + Tuomey


Bodø, Norway

DRDH Architects

The Ring of Remembrance, International

WWI Memorial

Ablain-Saint Nazaire, France


Tula House

Heriot Bay, Quadra Island, Canada

Patkau Architects

UTEC - Universidad de Ingenieria y Tecnologia

Lima, Peru

Grafton Architects

The Awards committee have also recognised the achievement of Rural Urban Framework at HKUrban Lab, the University of Hong Kong for their ambitious plan for Angdong Hospital in Baojing County, China with the RIBA International Emerging Architect prize. The award is presented to project directors John Lin and Joshua Bolchover, who set up their research and design collaborative in 2005 as a non-profit organization providing design services to charities and NGOs working in China.

Speaking about the list of finalists, RIBA President, Jane Duncan said:

“The RIBA International Prize was created to showcase the best new buildings worldwide. At its heart, the prize celebrates architectural excellence, vision, and the power of great architecture for the public good.

“The finalists selected by our jury represent an exceptional selection of buildings across the world, and notably include a number of buildings dedicated to culture and the arts, reflecting the visionary clients who have commissioned architecture of the highest calibre. It demonstrates the understanding of how a building can powerfully communicate the shared history of our cultural past and present, and become a focus of civic pride for the people that use these spaces whether for meeting and enjoyment or cultural appreciation.

“This is seen in each of the buildings on our final list, including a university that specialises in engineering but which incorporates a theatre and cinema space into its campus. Whilst creating a locus for students and staff, these interventions reflect the integration of science with culture in their programme of studies.

“Our panel of jurors have been particularly impressed by the way in which each building reacts to, resolves and assimilates into the varying geographies and contexts - from dense urban cities to a small town in the Arctic Circle. Each project resolves the complex demands of its context with ingenuity, exceptional detail and finishing and a sensitivity to the needs of the users and communities which will inhabit these spaces.

“The selection speaks to the positive impact of investing in culture, in quality and in architecture which has a direct impact on the communities that use them. Expanding our awards to a global network of ambitious and visionary architects has resulted in a truly valuable insight, and we look forward to announcing the winner following the Grand Jury’s visits and deliberations.”

The RIBA International Prize is in association with the Union Internationale des Architectes (UIA) and in collaboration with Association of European architects (ACE), the Royal Institute of the Architects of Ireland (RIAI), Australian Institute of Architects (AIA), Royal Architectural Institute of Canada (RAIC), Province of Buenos Aires Association of Architects (CAPBA).

  • Wallpaper* Magazine is the exclusive lifestyle media partner for the RIBA International Prize.
  • Dezeen is the exclusive Professional media partner for the RIBA International Prize.
  • CNN Style is the exclusive video media partner for the RIBA International Prize.


Notes to editors:

  1. For further press information please contact Fiona Russell or Rosie Marsh:
  2. The Grand Jury includes Billie Tsien, founding partner of Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects | Partners based in New York City, Kunlé Adeyemi, founder and principal of NLÉ, Marilyn Jordan Taylor FAIA, the Dean of Architecture at the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Fine Arts, Philip Gumuchdjian, founder of Gumuchdjian Architects and Chair of RIBA Awards and Chaired by Lord Rogers of Riverside.
  3. The winner of the RIBA International Prize will be chosen from a shortlist of six. These will be given to buildings worldwide that stretch the boundaries of architecture. Irrespective of style, complexity and size of both scheme and budget successful projects should demonstrate visionary or innovative thinking and excellence of execution.
  4. The RIBA International Prize is a biennial award for projects outside the UK completed within the past 3 years (between 1 January 2013 and 1 February 2016). The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) champions better buildings, communities and the environment through architecture and our members.
  5. RIBA awards have been running since 1966. RIBA inspires and rewards excellence through across a programme of regional, national and international Awards including the Royal Gold Medal, RIBA Stirling Prize and RIBA House of the Year. The RIBA International Prize is the first global award for buildings open to all architects in the organisation’s history. For more information visit
  6. Social media:

    Follow RIBA on Twitter @RIBA
    Follow RIBA on Facebook at @RIBAarchitecture
    Social media hashtag: #RIBAIntPrize
  7. Judges’ biographies:

    Richard Rogers, Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners

    Richard Rogers is the 2007 Pritzker Architecture Prize Laureate, the recipient of the RIBA Gold Medal in 1985 and winner of the 1999 Thomas Jefferson Memorial Foundation Medal. He is also winner of the 2000 Praemium Imperiale Prize for Architecture, the 2006 Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement and the 2007 Tau Sigma Delta Gold Medal. Richard Rogers was awarded the Légion d’Honneur in 1986, knighted in 1991 and made a member of the House of Lords in 1996. Most recently, in 2008 he was made a Member of the Order of the Companions of Honour.

    He is a Partner at Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners which has won a number of awards including the Stirling Prize for Terminal 4 at Madrid Barajas Airport, in 2006 and again in 2009 for Maggie’s London. Currently, the practice is working on a number of international projects including an office tower on the World Trade Center site in New York and a new terminal at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport.

    Billie Tsien, Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects | Partners
    Born in Ithaca, NY, Billie Tsien began working with Tod Williams in 1977 and established their joint architectural practice in 1986. Located in New York, their studio focuses on work for institutions including schools, museums, and not ­for ­profit—organizations and people who value issues of aspiration and meaning, timelessness and beauty. Their buildings are carefully made and useful in ways that speak to both efficiency and the spirit. A sense of rootedness, light, texture, detail, and most of all experience, is at the heart of what they build. Over the past three decades Tod and Billie have received more than two dozen awards from the American Institute of Architects, as well as numerous national and international citations.

    Billie is the current President of the Architectural League of New York and a Director of the Public Art Fund. She and Tod are both Fellows of the American Academy in Rome, and have been inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Letters, National Academy, and American Academy of Arts and Sciences. In parallel with her practice, Billie maintains an active academic career and lectures worldwide.

    At various times, she has taught at the Cooper Union, Harvard University, Cornell University, University of Texas, City College of New York, and Yale University. As both an educator and a practitioner, she is deeply committed to making a better world through architecture.

    Kunlé Adeyemi, NLÉ
    Kunlé Adeyemi is an architect, urbanist and designer. His recent work includes 'Makoko Floating School', an innovative, prototype, floating structure located on the lagoon heart of Nigeria’s largest city, Lagos. This acclaimed project is part of an extensive research project - 'African Water Cities' - being developed by NLÉ, an architecture, design, and urbanism practice founded by Adeyemi in 2010 with a focus on developing cities and communities. NLÉ is currently developing a number of urban, research and architectural projects in Africa; one of which is Chicoco Radio Media Center; an amphibious building in Delta city of Port Harcourt in Nigeria.

    Born and raised in Nigeria, Adeyemi studied architecture at the University of Lagos where he began his early practice, before joining Office for Metropolitan Architecture (OMA) in 2002. At OMA he led the design, development and execution of several large prestigious projects around the world including the Shenzhen Stock Exchange tower in China, the Qatar National Library in Doha and Prada Transformer in Seoul. Adeyemi was one of 5 members of the International Advisory Council for the World Design Capital 2014, a juror for the 2014 Venice Architecture Biennale, a Fellow of the World Technology Network, an international speaker and lecturer at various institutions. He is currently the Gensler Visiting Critic at Cornell University, Ithaca, New York.

    Philip Gumuchdjian, Gumuchdjian Architects
    Philip Gumuchdjian founded Gumuchdjian Architects in 1998. He has gained a reputation for designing innovative and contextual buildings in the public and private sectors. The practice has won multiple RIBA Awards, including two Stephen Lawrence prizes, five RIBA National Awards and a RIBA European Award for his collaboration on the Pompidou Centre in Metz. He has chaired the RIBA Awards Group from 2014 - 2016.

    Philip Gumuchdjian spent 18 years and was Associate Directorship at the Richard Rogers Partnership where he co-wrote Richard Rogers’ ‘Cities for a Small Planet’ in 1995.

    He was Rapporteur at the UN Habitat II conference and was a member of the German Government’s Urban 21 panel. He has written, lectured and broadcast on the subject of architecture, sustainability and urban development, and his work has been published and exhibited internationally. Philip has been a visiting critic to the Architectural Association, the Royal College of Art, and has taught Urban Design at the Bartlett School of Architecture

    Marilyn Jordan Taylor, former Dean and Paley Professor, University of Pennsylvania School of Design
    Marilyn Jordan Taylor became Dean of the School of Design and Paley Professor at the University of Pennsylvania in 2008. Throughout her term she has been a strong advocate of the power of design and the significant role of designers in creating more vibrant, resilient, diverse and just communities and societies. She is working closely the school’s distinguished chairs and faculty to enhance the role and value of design through experimentation and use of data, robotics, technology and innovative design thinking.

    Before that, Taylor served for 33 years as architect, urban designer, and partner at Skidmore Owings & Merrill LLP, where she led the firm’s worldwide practices in airports, transportation, and urban design; in 2001, she became the first woman to serve as Chairman of the SOM partnership. Acclaimed for her work in civic design and community engagement, she has been involved with campuses, airports and train systems, and urban districts across the North America, the Middle East, and Asia. Most recently her project for the Denver Union Station Transportation Hub and its new post-industrial urban district won a prestigious Global Award from the Urban Land Institute.

    Taylor is a Trustee of global ULI where she was the first woman to serve as its Chairman. She has been elected as a David Rockefeller Fellow of the Partnership for New York City, President of the American Institute of Architects (New York), Chairman of the AIA City and Regional Planning Committee, Chairman of the New York Building Congress, and President of the Forum for Urban Design. She is a board member of the Regional Planning Association, the Forum for Urban Design, and the Delaware River Waterfront Corporation, as well as a Housing Commissioner of the Bipartisan Policy Center in Washington, DC and a member of the Nominating Committee for Singapore’s Lee Kuan Yew World Cities Prize.

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