Amorepacific headquarters

RIBA announces winners of International Awards for Excellence 2021

Buildings by David Chipperfield Architects and Herzog & de Meuron have been named among the 16 winners of the RIBA International Award for Excellence. 

The biannual award aims to recognise the most "significant and inspirational projects around the world" and this year's winners come from 11 different countries. Four of the projects will be shortlisted for the RIBA International Prize, which Dezeen is the media partner for.

Alila Yangshuo, China
Above: Alila Yangshuo, China. Photo is by Shangliang Su. Top image: Amorepacific Headquarters, South Korea. Photo is by Andreas Gehrke Noshe

The winning submissions this year range from infrastructure projects, such as the Lille Langebro pedestrian and bicycle bridge in Copenhagen, to museums and memorials including the National Memorial for Peace and Justice in Montgomery, Alabama.

David Chipperfield Architects has won two prizes, for its cube-shaped office block in Seoul and the James Simon Galerie in Berlin.

Other projects on the list include Hooba Design Group's design for brick manufacturer Kohan Ceram, a Tehran office building clad in a specially-designed type of brick with glass inserts.

A collaboration between Herzog & de Meuron and Purcell, which saw the two firms combine conservation and adaptive reuse to create the Tai Kwun arts centre in Hong Kong, is another winning project.

National Memorial for Peace and Justice, Alabama
National Memorial for Peace and Justice, Alabama. Photo is courtsey of MASS Group

Four of the projects on this list will be shortlisted for the RIBA International Prize 2021 and the RIBA International Emerging Architect Prize.

The shortlist will be revealed in September after which the winners will be chosen by a jury led by French architect Odile Decq and announced in November.

The Polygon Gallery, Canada
The Polygon Gallery, Canada. Photo is by James Dow

This year's awards – the third edition of the prize – is the first since 2018, as the 2020 edition was postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic. Since all RIBA Award-winning projects must be visited in person, the regular process couldn't take place last year.

"The 2021 RIBA International Awards for Excellence are presented to an ambitious and diverse range of projects from a wide range of established and upcoming architects' practices," RIBA president Alan Jones said.

Kohan Ceram headquarters, Tehran
Kohan Ceram headquarters, Iran. Photo is by Deed Studio

"It is particularly important to be considering excellence in architecture at this time – in this fast-changing world, where governments, clients and society need the skills and insight of architects," he added.

"Our global awards show how well-considered, well-delivered and well-performing architecture has the immense potential to improve lives and communities. We are very pleased to be able to celebrate some of the most innovative, ingenious and impactful architecture in the world – designed by some of the most talented architects of our time."

James Simon Galerie, Berlin
James Simon Galerie, Germany. Photo is by Simon Menges

Previous winners of the RIBA International Prize include Children Village in the Brazilian rainforest by architecture studios Aleph Zero and Rosenbaum and the prize's inaugural winner, the Universidad de Ingeniería y Tecnología (UTEC) in Peru by Grafton Architects.

See the 16 recipients of the RIBA Awards for International Excellence 2021 and shortlist for the RIBA International Prize 2021 below:


Alila Yangshuo, Guangxi, China, by Vector Architects
Amorepacific Headquarters, Seoul, South Korea by David Chipperfield Architects and HAEAHN Architecture and KESSON

Artist's retreat, Sri Lanka
Artist's Retreat, Sri Lanka. Photo is by Sebastian Posingis

› Artists' Retreat at Pittugala, Athurugiriya, Sri Lanka by Palinda Kannangara Architects
› Dongziguan Villagers' Activity Center, Hangzhou, China by Gad Line+ Studio
› Friendship Hospital, Satkhira, Shyamnagar, Bangladesh by Kashef Chowdhury/URBANA
James Simon Galerie, Berlin, Germany by David Chipperfield Architects

Renovation of the Captain's House, China
Renovation of the Captain's House, China. Photo is by Hao Chen

Kohan Ceram Central Office Building, Tehran, Iran by Hooba Design Group
› Lianzhou Museum of Photography, Lianzhou, China by O-office Architects/Jianxiang He & Ying Jiang
› Msheireb Downtown Doha Masterplan, Doha, Qatar by Allies and Morrison with Arup and AECOM
› The Polygon Gallery, North Vancouver, Canada by Patkau Architects

Friendship Hospital, Bangladesh
Friendship Hospital, Bangladesh. Photo is by Asif Salman courtesy of URBANA

Lille Langebro, Copenhagen, Denmark by WilkinsonEyre and Urban Agency
› Modern Art Museum and its Walkways, Shanghai, China by Atelier Deshaus

Lianzhou Museum of Photography, China
Lianzhou Museum of Photography, China. Photo is by Chao Zang

Renovation of the Captain's House, Fuzhou, China by Vector Architects
› Expansion of the University Hospital of the Santa Fe de Bogotá Foundation, Bogotá, Colombia by El Equipo Mazzanti/Giancarlo Mazzanti

Expansion of the University Hospital, Colombia
Expansion of the University Hospital, Colombia. Photo is by Alejandro Arango

Tai Kwun – The Centre for Heritage and Arts, Hong Kong, China by Purcell (Conservation Architect), Herzog & de Meuron (Architect and Masterplaner), Rocco Design Architects Associates Limited (Executive Architect)
The National Memorial for Peace and Justice, Montgomery, Alabama, USA by MASS Design Group