RIBA announces student medal winners for 2015

An architectural strategy for Berlin and a maze-like academy combining religious and scientific studies are among the winners of this year's RIBA President's Medals and Research Awards.

The Heteroglossic City: A polemic against critical reconstruction in Berlin by Finn Wilkie
The Heteroglossic City: A polemic against critical reconstruction in Berlin by Finn Wilkie

The awards, which are presented annually by the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) to Part-I and Part-II architecture graduates and researchers, have this year been presented to seven individuals. The two top prizes went to students from the Mackintosh and Bartlett architecture schools.

The Heteroglossic City: A polemic against critical reconstruction in Berlin by Finn Wilkie
The Heteroglossic City: A polemic against critical reconstruction in Berlin by Finn Wilkie

Finn Wilkie from the Mackintosh School of Architecture was the recipient of the Silver Medal for his diploma project, entitled The Heteroglossic City.

Described as "a polemic against critical reconstruction in Berlin", it explores the history of the German capital city and proposes a strategy for open-source architecture, detailed in a series of monochrome images and intricate models.

The Heteroglossic City: A polemic against critical reconstruction in Berlin by Finn Wilkie
The Heteroglossic City: A polemic against critical reconstruction in Berlin by Finn Wilkie

"Through collaborative projects that form an ensemble of heteroglossic [multi-varied styles sharing the same language] parts, the city is transformed into an adaptive metropolis shaped by the tactical interventions of its users," said Wilkie in his project text.


Space as the Third Teacher: An alternative classroom typology promoting creative learning and play by Boon Yik Chung

The Bronze Medal went to Bartlett graduate Boon Yik Chung, whose final degree project investigated an alternative to the traditional classroom model, promoting opportunities to combine learning and play.

Space as the Third Teacher: An alternative classroom typology promoting creative learning and play by Boon Yik Chung
Space as the Third Teacher: An alternative classroom typology promoting creative learning and play by Boon Yik Chung

Drawing on the school design projects of Dutch architect Herman Hertzberger, as well as his own experiences of school spaces in Malaysia, he proposed a more flexible classroom model where different spaces overlap one another.

Space as the Third Teacher: An alternative classroom typology promoting creative learning and play by Boon Yik Chung
Space as the Third Teacher: An alternative classroom typology promoting creative learning and play by Boon Yik Chung

"The project investigates the idea of making classroom a 'teacher' – it 'speaks and even 'teaches' the children – by introducing in the architecture the notion of ambiguity, abstractness and open-endedness," said Chung.

Space as the Third Teacher: An alternative classroom typology promoting creative learning and play by Boon Yik Chung
Space as the Third Teacher: An alternative classroom typology promoting creative learning and play by Boon Yik Chung

The Dissertation Medal was awarded to Marie Price from the University of Westminster, the student judged to have carried out the best research project.

Her project, The Overlooked Back Garden: Voyeurism in the English back garden, investigated the architectural history of voyeurism at different scales, and the tension between private and overlooked spaces.

Pontifical Academy of Sciences by Benjamin Ferns
Pontifical Academy of Sciences by Benjamin Ferns

Two students were recognised for exceptional drawing skills: Benjamin Ferns from the Bartlett School of Architecture and Andrew Chard from Oxford Brookes University.

Ferns' project, the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, proposed a new labyrinthine academy building in central London that "seeks to go beyond a religious or scientific typology".

Pontifical Academy of Sciences by Benjamin Ferns
Pontifical Academy of Sciences by Benjamin Ferns

Chard proposed transforming an industrial port in Athens into a place of adventure, centred around a boatbuilding workshop. The project was named The Lost Dockyard.

The Lost Dockyard by Andrew Chard
The Lost Dockyard by Andrew Chard

Two final awards were given to the Bartlett's Christopher Purpura, for his master's degree thesis Holding Hands, Touching Alterity: Dance as Spatial Practice at Monte Verità, 1914, and to LSE's Torsten Schroeder, for his PhD thesis Translating the concept of sustainability into architectural design practices: London's City Hall as an Exemplar.

The Lost Dockyard by Andrew Chard
The Lost Dockyard by Andrew Chard

RIBA President Jane Duncan congratulated all of the winners, describing the collection of projects as "innovative, challenging and thought-provoking".

"It's an honour to present these awards to the future trailblazers and current innovators of the architecture profession," she said.

The awards were presented during a ceremony this evening at the Royal Institute of British Architects in London.

An exhibition of the winners and other selected student work will be on display at the building for the next two months.