RIBA President’s Medals Student Awards 2011

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Robots of Brixton by Kibwe Tavares

A sci-fi animation in which a downtrodden robot workforce battles with police against a backdrop of dystopian architecture is one of the winners of the RIBA President’s Medals Student Awards, announced this evening.

Top and above: Robots of Brixton by Kibwe Tavares

Bartlett School of Architecture graduate Kibwe Tavares receives the Silver Medal for his project, Robots of Brixton, which we featured in the summer - watch the movie here.

Robots of Brixton by Kibwe Tavares

Above: Robots of Brixton by Kibwe Tavares

Basmah Kaki, a student at the Architectural Association, wins the Bronze medal for a conceptual building that manipulates wind and acoustics to protect workers at a granite quarry from noise pollution.

Acoustic lyrical mechanism by Basmah Kaki

Above: acoustic lyrical mechanism by Basmah Kaki

The dissertation medal is awarded to University of Melbourne student Hannah Robertson, who presented a study of homes for an indigenous community in northeast Australia.

Acoustic lyrical mechanism by Basmah Kaki

Above: acoustic lyrical mechanism by Basmah Kaki

All shortlisted projects will be on display at the RIBA in London until the end of January 2012 and will then travel to other venues.

Bush Owner Builder by Hannah Robertson

Above: Bush Owner Builder by Hannah Robertson

See some of the winners from previous years here.

Bush Owner Builder by Hannah Robertson

Above: Bush Owner Builder by Hannah Robertson

Here’s a press release from the RIBA:


A brave new world - RIBA President’s Medals Student Awards 2011

From a dystopian vision of Brixton, to a sanctuary for quarry workers in Bangalore, to new homes for a remote Aboriginal community in Australia, this year’s RIBA President’s Medals Student Awards, in association with Atkins, show how today’s architecture students around the world are grappling with pressing social issues and, through architecture, coming up with original solutions.

The winners of the President’s Medals will be announced this evening (Wednesday 7 December 2011) at the RIBA in London.

Kibwe Tavares, a student of The Bartlett, University College London, has won the Silver Medal – awarded to a Part 2 project (second degree) – for Robots of Brixton. Taking the existing buildings of Brixton as a starting point, and eerily prescient of this summer’s riots in English cities, this startling short film combines architectural drawings and futuristic animation to comment on the social tensions of inner city life. The judges said: “We were stunned by the research work that went into making this film: not only had an urban environment been designed but the film itself was a complex design project. An amazing piece of work that is truly exciting and inspirational.”

The Bronze Medal – for a Part 1 project (first degree) – has been awarded to Basmah Kaki, a student at the Architectural Association. An acoustic lyrical mechanism is an ingenious design which exploits the natural environment to create a sanctuary for workers, protecting them from damage caused by noise pollution in an Indian granite quarry. The judges said: “This is beautifully presented, but equally impressive is the journey of architectural exploration. Prototypes have been made, and topographical models used to help analyse the impact of wind and the visual and sound environment that the building would create.’

Hannah Robertson, of the University of Melbourne, receives the Dissertation Medal for her work Bush Owner Builder which develops culturally sensitive and appropriate homes for an indigenous community in the far north of Queensland. Designs that emerged from working closely with the Aboriginal community are now being built on ‘homeland’ sites. The judges said: “This dissertation warmed our hearts with its social concern. A sensitive and respectful piece of work, it rethinks the world of the architect and shows people not as clients but as genuine participants in the creative architectural process.”

In addition to the three RIBA President’s Medals, commendations were awarded to:

Part 1: Daniel Schinagl, London South Bank University, for Institute of Language and Knowledge

Part 2: Duncan Corrigall and Daniel Spence, University of Sydney, for Metamorphoses: Echo’s Retreat; Marie Kojzar, Royal College of Art, for Human Nature; and Christopher Christophi, De Montfort University, for Ecological research and macro algae monitoring facility, North Arsenale, Venice

Dissertation: Julianne Cassidy, University of Westminster, for Arka Pana: the Church in the City without God; Costa Elia, The Bartlett, University College London, for The Buyukada Museum: building new viewpoints on the Istanbul Pogrom; and Joanna Doherty, University of Newcastle upon Tyne, for Constructing the ‘Other’: the role of space in continuing conflict in Northern Ireland.

Congratulating the winners, RIBA President Angela Brady said:
“The winners of this year’s RIBA President’s Medals show the outstanding talent of today’s architecture students. With highly creative and inspired thinking they are confronting real social issues – and showing how quality architectural design improves the quality of people’s lives. I am delighted to present these awards.”

Philip Watson, Design Director, Atkins, added:
“The industry needs to encourage and celebrate creativity and innovation, which is why Atkins continues to support the RIBA President’s Medals Student Awards. The best entries this year tackled social, economic and environmental issues head-on, showing real awareness and a refreshing sense of optimism.”

Daniel Schinagl and Christopher Christophi also receive the Serjeant Award for Excellence in Architectural Drawing. Travelling Fellowships from the Skidmore Owings Merrill (SOM) Foundation go to three students from the University of Liverpool, Steven Kok, Sean Peel and Hannah Wilson, for Zeitgeist Archive, Berlin, as well as to Bronze medal-winner Basmah Kaki.

The awards will be presented by RIBA President Angela Brady on Wednesday 7 December 2011 and winning projects will be displayed at the RIBA from 7 December 2011 until 28 January 2012. The exhibition will then travel to Newcastle, Liverpool and Dublin, with other venues in the United Kingdom, Australia, Romania and the United Arab Emirates to be confirmed.

This year saw the highest number ever of entries for the President’s Medals: 276 entries from 83 schools of architecture in 27 countries.

  • Paul O' Brien

    Robots? Ridiculous.

  • Mark

    This just shows how irrelevant the presidents medal has become! it says nothing about architecture. Just overlays minimally altered facades over existing buildings.

    Just CGI bling (I do think its amazing, just not architecturally). Give him an animation award for CGI not the top architectural student award in the U.K.

    Pathetic RIBA, once again London centric and always dystopian

  • Pete H

    Mark's Pram <<< distance toys were thrown >>> Mark's Toys

  • Liz

    a 'sci-fi animation' … NOT ARCHITECTURE
    why does riba undermine actual architecture so much?
    give the architecture awards to architecture projects.

  • i2hellfire

    that animation again? while we're at it, let's give a country music award to a particle physicist…because the two have nothing to do with each other. no knock at the quality of work presented…but this has as much to do with architecture as the sausage egg and cheese sandwich i had this morning.

  • Hovis

    Come on you silly-heads…. how should it be otherwise? That the prize goes to the 'best building' designed by a student? That would be even more ridiculous. The prizes for the top politics students don't go to those with the 'best politics'… the prizes for the top maths students don't go to those who have done the 'best sums'.

    Student prizes should go to those who have, amongst other things, done excellent research, applied thorough logic, made excellent and convincing presentations, and demonstrated highly developed skills. The results of these ingredients, combined with the level of passion for the subject that Tavares has, are not and should not be predictable. Why not relax and enjoy the fact that somebody is questioning the limits of his media.

    • ernie

      And still, I would not have this future architect design my house. Maybe a 3d model of it.

  • http://www.vimarch.com LOW

    I never comment much on any of the stories, but I strongly believe that no one should undermine or belittle student work, in this case, I'm pretty sure this animation is the result of laborious research, all-nighters and a couple of years of hard dilligence. I just think we shouldn't be so swift as to dismiss any project initiative just because we get a quick snippet of it, or because it's not a silent movie about the deconstruction of some Alvar Aalto building…. just saying….

  • Jim

    No wonder most of the architecture out there is so dull, mind numbing, money driven and, as a consequence, meaningless rubbish. A young student tries to stretch his medium, tries to engage with the not so salubrious bits of London, shows deep passion for his subject and works extremely hard to realise his vision in a medium that is apt and interesting… and all you get is moans?

    Architecture isn't one thing nor should it be… Futurism, Lebbeus Woods, Archigram, Superstudio, and others too numerous to mention here, have all contributed to architecture not because of their detailing skills but because of either the compelling nature of their graphic presentations or the force of their ideas. Even Plato and St Thomas Aquinas have had a profound effect on Architecture!

    To criticise this work for not being "Architecture" is to display a pretty limited and limiting definition of what is Architecture… I love it. Congratulations Kibwe Tavares.

  • mommus

    Beautiful animation. But worthy of an architecture award? I don’t think so.

    If a mechanical engineering student submitted an abstract oil painting of a bridge as his final year project would he be within rights to qualify it as ‘expanding the definition of engineering’ when his lecturers asked “WTF is this?”

  • ahol

    The negative comments here are obviously made by the Bartlett-bashers – this skills-deficit jealousy gets very tiresome. Its the first time a Bartlett project has won in years so untwist your knickers and go read a Corb book or something.

    Congratulations to Kibwe Tavares, who will be laughing all the way to a well paid job in film or game design, leaving the disdainful inertia of the flagging architecture profession behind.