RIBA President's Medals Student Awards 2008

The winners of the RIBA President's Medals Student Awards were announced at a ceremony in London yesterday.


James Tait from the University of Strathclyde was awarded the Design Part 2 silver medal for his project Time and Tide for Seaweed (above and below), a seaweed farm complex for Arisaig in Scotland that comprises an offshore farm, bothy, steam baths, restaurant and spa.


Waynne Leung and Francesco Matteo Belfiore from the University of Greenwich were awarded the Design Part 1 bronze medal for their project Invisible University Library (below), where books are transferred to audio format and recycled to provide paper for emerging writers.


Here is a selection of shortlisted projects, displayed at the RIBA in London, with captions provided by the students. All entries can be seen on the President's Medals website here.

Flagship store for Issey Miyake by Shigemi Challand (above)riba-presidents-medals-2008-2221_01.jpg
Flagship store for Issey Miyake by Shigemi Challand (above)

I wanted to express the character of Issey Miyake's obsession with the pleat in this flagship store. The rotated and scaled timber flitch beams forming the main structure became two coiled surfaces, both with an explicitly pleated topography. I also wanted to reflect the fashion industry ritual of seasonal collections, by transforming seasonal imagery such as frozen stalagmites and dandelion clocks into parts of the building: glass columns and repeated lightweight louvres


Street Life - Communes for Urbanites by Mark Rist (top image, above and below)

Set within the tough reality of repetitive modular design - and located between Old Compton Street and Oxford Street in central London - this design project proposes a new urban streetscape which can embrace the simple and seemingly banal acts of commercial and domestic everyday life within Soho’s particular vibrant and (it should be said) voyeuristic context.


"Crash" - House for J. Ballard by Mark King (below)

The project is a house for J. Ballard with a restaurant on ground floor level - Ballard is the main character from the novel/film 'Crash'. The film centres around fanatics who reconstruct celebrity death crashes to gain excitement.


The intention of the project was to explore the potential for aesthetic qualities in the aftermath of a car crash, and involved a detailed photographic and hand drawn study, including conceptual models to aid form generation and art pieces to draw inspiration from.


The Holy City and its Discontents by Deena Fakhro (above and below)

Once a year, every year, the Muslim Holy City of Makkah is momentarily flooded to breaking point by a relentless three million pilgrim-surge: the Hajj.


As the largest gathering of people in one place at one time on Earth, the obligatory pilgrimage demands unparalleled infrastructural miracles of the humble Holy City. In response, the project strategically proposes polynodal ‘gateway airports’ that disperse congestion multi-directionally within Makkah’s valleys.


Reprogramming the Ruptured City by Adam Collier (below)

The project investigates a city of ruptured ground, connections and infrastructures. The reinvention of Cadiz occurs through acts of inhabiting ruptured fragments of the cities fabric.


By understanding Cadiz in terms of its underlying deep geo-tectonic landscape, actions of re-programming become a key tool for creating a future version of Cadiz, in both urban arrangement and architectural detail. The series of new buildings and infrastructures are places of intense commercial activity relating to biotechnology research.


The core diapiric tower structures house the commercial head quarters for biotechnology development and the sherry industry. These structures have public amenities and services interwoven through to connect them.


The Cinema of Towers, Cadiz by Ross Perkin (above and below)

El Ciné de las Torres, y la Arqueología Romana translated as ‘The Cinema of Towers and Roman Archaeology’. The project aims to reinforce and reactivate an urban block in the old town that is suffering the effects of unemployment, urban decay and dereliction.


Excavation works have revealed that the block is situated above the remains of a Roman Circus. These excavations are an active part of the programme, providing public viewing points and an evolving gallery of uncovered relics.


A Manifesto for Architectural Fusion by Aaron Holden (below)

Our perception of interior and exterior architectural space is primarily a sensual event dependent on movement and transitions. The planar façade often deceptive, acts to provide a singular two-dimensional image. In opposition, my manifesto for a 'fusion architecture' and a habitable 'thickened façade' favours a multi-sensory dynamic, both experienced from the inside and the outside. Fusion between internal programme and external event promotes an interpenetration of spaces and the blurring of traditional boundaries. Ultimately, thickening and multiplying the layers of the façade and controlling its framing creates a sequence of visual revelations: impacting on the users pattern of occupation and interaction.


Towards Better Livelihoods Through Equality by Valerie Saavedra Lux (above and below)

During my visit to Ambedkar, I met a woman who had to sell her kidney to pay for her son’s education – could this have been avoided if she was financially independent and had the opportunity to work?


The proposed intervention is aimed at empowering people through the creation of physical and social environments where they can get access to resources that will allow them to improve their futures and livelihoods. The strategy operates at various scales, turning problems into opportunities and creating a solution to various social, environmental and economic problems. Useful environments are created re-using misused areas and spaces that have remained in disuse.


Related concepts of economic development, social justice, human rights and ecological responsibility are harnessed to ensure the long-term sustainability of the settlement.

Time and Tide for Seaweed by James Tait from the University of Strathclyde

The thesis project focuses on the coastal village of Arisaig which will become a centre for ‘sea vegetable’ cultivation while providing seaweed based facilities for health and leisure. This will establish a flourishing seaweed industry, while providing employment and enjoyment to the people of Arisaig and its visitors, all year round.

The architectural proposal will consist of an offshore cultivation farm, farmers’ bothy, floating restaurant and new pier seaweed baths and drying tower.

Invisible University Library by Wynne Leung and Francesco Matteo Belfiore from the University of Greenwich.

Our 'mutoscopes' are spaces which make invisible processes visible. We've established a logistical communication network between the city and countryside by displacing urban voids such as traffic islands, street furniture and hedgerows into the grounds of Hay Castle and Hay town. Streetlamps are enlarged to accomodate writers, whose invisible activities become visible signals in the nocturnal ambience.

Literary London decamps to Hay on Wye for the festival: flaneurs, voyeurs and agitators of the production process of writing. Ruins are the setting for recital, storytelling, lecturing, preaching, listening, whispering and eavesdropping; while pigeonfanciers dispense messages about future events. It is a soundscape where nature and artifice are intertwined. Once the books are converted to audio format, they are shredded, pulped and recycled to provide new paper for emerging writers. Writers, readers and audience occupy an illuminating space in the ruins of history; confounded by the ever expanding accumulation of technologies.

The following is from the RIBA:


RIBA President’s Medals Student Awards 2008 winners announced

The winners of the RIBA President’s Medals Student Awards 2008 in association with Atkins were announced in a ceremony at the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) last night. These prestigious awards promote excellence in the study of architecture, rewarding talent and encouraging architectural debate world-wide.

James Tait from the University of Strathclyde won the Silver Medal for his project “Time and Tide for Seaweed” and Wynne Leung and Francesco Matteo Belfiore from the University of Greenwich won the Bronze Medal for their joint project “Invisible University Library”. Dominic Severs from the University of Westminster won the Dissertation Medal for his work “Rookeries and No-go Estates: St. Giles and Broadwater Farm”.

The main President’s Medals are: the Bronze Medal (awarded to a Part 1 design project), the Silver Medal (Part 2 design project) and the Dissertation Medal, which is awarded for the best exploration of different subjects, methodologies and presentations. 111 Schools of architecture offering RIBA validated courses around the world were asked to nominate two of their best student design projects at Part 1 (first degree), two at Part 2 (second degree) and one dissertation. 116 additional schools from all over the world were also invited to submit work to the competition.

Sunand Prasad, President of the RIBA, said:
“The President’s Medals awards promote and reward outstanding talent demonstrated in projects emanating from schools of architecture worldwide. The RIBA is particularly proud of its international involvement in architectural education and is delighted with the very high calibre of projects and dissertations being submitted.”

Keith Clarke, Chief Executive of Atkins, said:
“We are delighted and proud to sponsor the President’s Medals. This is an exciting time to be an emerging architect as we respond to major challenges such as climate change. Far from inhibiting us, finding new ways of doing things is becoming more enjoyable and even fun. By nurturing student development, while embracing and rewarding creativity and innovation, we will ensure the quality of architecture continues to grow.”

A number of other awards were also presented at the ceremony.

Commendations For Part 1 were awarded to the projects “Newton’s Third” by Vladimir Berezovskiy of the University of Greenwich, and “Towards Better Livelihoods through Equality” by Valerie Saavedra Lux of the London Metropolitan University. Rebecca Roberts from the University of Cambridge was awarded a Commendation for the Project “2012 Olympic Dining/ 2020 Education Campus: Phase Change”.

Commendations in the Dissertation category were awarded to Joseph Mackey (University of Sheffield) for “Context Thinking: A Reflection on the Work of Alison and Peter Smithson”, Ross Tredget (University of Bath) for “Expressing the Transpersonal: The Work of Peter Zumthor”, and to Stefanos Gkougkoustamos (University of Greenwich) for “Voices from Shatila: Dissecting the Urban Apparatus of Beirut’s Southern Suburbs.”

Aleksandrina Rizova, from Kingston University, also won the Komfort Award, for the best use of interior space, for Part 1, with the project “Factory”. Naofumi Takaoka, from the University of East London, was awarded the Komfort Award for Part 2 with the project “Wrapping Urban Memory”.

Valerie Saavedra Lux, from London Metropolitan University, received the Paul Davis + Partners award for landscape and urbanism at Part 1 for the project “Towards Better Livelihoods Through Equality”, and James Tait, from the University of Strathclyde, was awarded for his project “Time and Tide for Seaweed” at Part 2.

The iGuzzini Travelling Award, for projects that show outstanding and innovative use of lighting in architecture, went to Michael Fedak, from the Mackintosh School of Architecture, for the project “Eyemouth Wreck Conservation Hall” for Part 1, and to Mark King, from the University of Lincoln, for “Crash - House for J. Ballard” for Part 2. The travelling awards consist of a visit to the iGuzzini headquarters in Recanati, Italy, for the students and tutors involved in their architectural education.

The Skidmore Owings and Merrill Foundation awarded two travelling fellowships of £1,250 each, to Moeko Yamagata from the University of East London for Part 1, with the project “Monastero de Torcello”, and to Erlend Bakke-Eidsaa, from the Architectural Association for Part 2, with the project “Siberian Photo (Re) Synthesis”.

The Serjeant Award for Excellence in Drawing was awarded to Shaun Young, from Northumbria University, for the project “'A thin place' Mesolithic Archaeology Museum, Northumberland” at Part 1, and to Mark Rist, from the University of Westminster, for “Street Life - Communes for Urbanites” at Part 2.

The public exhibition of winning work is on display at the RIBA, London W1 until the end of January 2009. A President’s Medals exhibition of winning work from 2008 will tour the UK and abroad in 2009. For more information and dates, please visit the awards website at www.presidentsmedals.com.

Atkins is the principal sponsor of the President’s Medals which are also sponsored by iGuzzini, Paul Davis + Partners, the SOM Foundation and Komfort Workspace, while the Architects’ Journal is media partner.

The design projects for the RIBA President's Medals submissions were initially shortlisted by a panel of advisors comprising Joe Cilia, Manager at Komfort Workspace; David Gloster, RIBA Director of Education; and Simon Allford of Allford Hall Monaghan Morris, UK, and RIBA Vice-President for Education as Chair. The shortlist was then judged by architects involved in practice and education.

Chaired by Simon Allford, the judges of the design projects were Benedetta Tagliabue (Miralles Tagliabue), Ellen van Loon (OMA) and Hanif Kara (Adams Kara Taylor). The jury for the Dissertation Medal, chaired by Professor Peter Blundell Jones (University of Sheffield), comprised Professor Simon Unwin (Dundee School of Architecture), Gerald Adler (University of Kent) and Catherine Slessor (Managing Editor of the Architectural Review).

Former judges in the design projects category have included Cedric Price, Sir Denys Lasdun, Daniel Libeskind, Will Alsop, Farshid Moussavi, Martha Schwartz, Patrick Schumacher, and David Chipperfield. Professors Edward Soja, Christine Boyer, Kim Dovey, Arie Graafland and Tom Dyckhoff have all previously served as judges of dissertations.

The student medallists receive £1,250 each and the commendation winners receive £500 each.

This year, the SOM Foundation judging panel comprised Roger Kallman and Kent Jackson from SOM, Kevin Carmody and Ken Mackay.