RIBA President's Medals Student Awards 2013
all go to one London school

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RIBA President's Medals Student Awards - Kizhi Island by Ben Hayes

News: students from the Bartlett School of Architecture have cleaned up at the RIBA President's Medals Student Awards this evening, with winning projects including a floating community centre for the Helsinki archipelago and a proposal to rebuild 250 Russian churches.

RIBA President's Medals Student Awards - Kizhi Island by Ben Hayes
Kizhi Island by Ben Hayes

The medals, which are awarded annually by the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) to three architecture graduates, have for the first time in the programme's history been given to individuals who all studied at the same university - the Bartlett School of Architecture in London.

RIBA President's Medals Student Awards - Kizhi Island by Ben Hayes
Kizhi Island by Ben Hayes restoration sequence

Ben Hayes received the Bronze Silver Medal for his project Kizhi Island, which proposes the reconstruction of 250 wooden Orthodox churches on a six-kilometre-wide isle in northern Russia.

RIBA President's Medals Student Awards - Kizhi Island by Ben Hayes
Kizhi Island by Ben Hayes curation timeline - click for larger image

The Part II graduate analysed the influence of romanticism on the ecclesiastical architecture of the former Soviet Union, before designing a museum and restoration centre to facilitate the dismantling and restoration of different kinds of churches.

RIBA President's Medals Student Awards - Kizhi Island by Ben Hayes
Kizhi Island by Ben Hayes restoration facility - click for larger image

The Silver Bronze Medal was awarded to Part I graduate Ness Lafoy for her design for a community hub serving the 50,000 residents of the archipelago surrounding Helsinki.

RIBA President's Medals Student Awards - Helsinki Archipelago Town Hall by Ness Lafoy
Helsinki Archipelago Town Hall by Ness Lafoy

The conceptual Helsinki Archipelago Town Hall comprises a floating clubhouse and hotel to accommodate islanders travelling to the mainland. It would incorporate a postal service for remote islands, as well as a council meeting place for addressing transport issues.

RIBA President's Medals Student Awards - Helsinki Archipelago Town Hall by Ness Lafoy
Helsinki Archipelago Town Hall interior by Ness Lafoy

The Dissertation Medal, which is awarded in recognition of a research project, was given to Tamsin Hanke for Magnitogorsk: Utopian vision of spatial socialism. This theoretical research explores how a socialist political ideology was developed in the Russian city of Magnitogorsk between 1930 and 1953.

RIBA President's Medals Student Awards - Helsinki Archipelago Town Hall by Ness Lafoy
Helsinki Archipelago Town Hall daily routine by Ness Lafoy

Speaking about the winners, RIBA President Stephen Hodder said: "They overcame intense competition from the best students of architecture around the world and truly shined with their innovative, challenging and thought-provoking projects."

RIBA President's Medals Student Awards - Helsinki Archipelago Town Hall by Ness Lafoy
Helsinki Archipelago Town Hall night view by Ness Lafoy

"This is an unprecedented achievement," said Bartlett director Marcos Cruz. "It's due to the extraordinary talent and dedication of our students and staff. It is also a reflection of the school's commitment to keeping our staff and students at the forefront of innovation, ideas, and excellence in architecture."

The medal recipients were announced in a ceremony this evening at the RIBA headquarters in London.

  • http://www.dezeen.com/ Dezeen Magazine

    Well spotted, thanks for correcting us! Amy/Dezeen

  • Mark

    People say it’s all graphics, aesthetics, style. Where’s the substance?

    That’s because your eyes stop at them. I’m a former Bartlett student and I hear that all the time. People like to pick on the school who’s been voted top architectural school.

    Find me a school that is more culturally aware, more passionate and meticulous in its work, more varied in its research, that produces students with such impeccable eyes?

    They don’t really teach you a lot about architecture at the Bartlett, they soak you with a neat group of people in the field of architecture and let you suss out your own way. It’s fun, liberating and produces some spectacular outcomes.

    Some people think that’s not architecture, some people question what architecture is each and every day.

    Immensely proud of what the Bartlett boys and girls achieved this year. Well done.

  • MIKE

    Interesting projects. At least recently in the UK we have distanced ourselves from dystopian graphics. The Part I project seems especially optimistic and socially driven. But I still think there is too many stylised graphics and not enough models and materiality.

    • Dave

      Materials and functions are done in technical studies, which is a separate module.

  • lozza

    I’m an architect. I did read and formed my opinion based on factors very different from aesthetics. What shines in these works is the package, much more than the relevancy of the content.
    I feel that students, especially these days, should not be encouraged to get out of touch with reality, and to back my point I second Jennie’s post from above.

  • J

    I do love the Helsinki project graphically, but mostly because it shows for the first time in goodness knows how long that a Bartlett (or for that matter) AA student knows what the inside of a building actually looks like (rather than a layered photoshop collage or film) and how timber beams might be constructed. It’s an actual building! It’s thought out! It’s designed for people!

    The Kizhi Island one is all about photoshop as usual. The Russian church – yes all very beautifully presented but if when I was a student at Cardiff I had put a plan up showing ‘turn table’ for complete rebuilt churches to presumably be then taken off somehow to be placed back in their original location I’d have been laughed out the school.

    Place, context, texture, tectonics. Only one project – and rather pleasingly the Part I student – has this.

  • J.Parling

    They are beautiful, what a shame nothing is being done to preserve them. Great project.