The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) has announced the winners of the RIBA President's Awards for Research 2009, which reward and encourage outstanding research in architecture.
Awards were presented in the following three categories:
1. PhD Thesis: for the best PhD Thesis from any school of architecture in which the department has a course validated by the RIBA
2. University-located Research: for the best completed research project carried out in any school of architecture in which the department has a course validated by the RIBA
3. Professional Practice-located Research: for the best completed research project initiated by an RIBA member or RIBA Chartered Practice
This year, the RIBA President's Award for Outstanding PhD Thesis was awarded to two entries. Irina Davidovici of the University of Cambridge was awarded for her thesis Between Typology and Typicality: German Swiss Architecture 1980-2000, on which the judges commented: “This is a fine piece of work that provides an overview of German-Swiss architecture leading up to the latter part of the twentieth century. The thesis is beautifully written, presenting its case material lyrically and evocatively.”
Leonidas Koutsoumpos of the University of Edinburgh was also awarded for his thesis Inhabiting Ethics: Educational Praxis in the Design Studio, the Music Class and the Dojo, on which the judges commented: This thesis is a rather remarkable piece of work which attempts to answer the difficult and yet important question ‘can ethics be taught in schools of architecture?’
Jeremy Till of the University of Westminster was awarded the RIBA President's Award for Outstanding University-located Research for his piece Architecture Depends; the judges commented: “This is a timely book that questions many assumptions about the practice of architecture and the position of the architect in contemporary society. It seeks nothing less than a comprehensive demolition of anything that smacks of arrogance in architecture, and any theory that tries to bring a misguided sense of order to the messy entropy that is the natural tendency of architecture.”
Under the same category, Alan Short of the University of Cambridge was awarded a commendation for his project Design Strategy for low-energy ventilation and cooling of health buildings, about which the judges said: “Its originality lies in the adaptation and development of existing knowledge to meet the varied and demanding requirements of large health care buildings. The work is highly significant, addressing strategies to meet the very demanding energy and carbon reduction targets set for the health care sector.”
Baca Architects were awarded the RIBA President's Awards for Outstanding Practice-located Research for their project LifE (Long-term Initiatives for Flood-risk Environments), about which the judges commented: “The documents communicate well, are skillfully illustrated, and are easy to navigate, serving as valuable references for practitioners and students who must deal with the urgent pressures from climate change and the demand for secure and affordable housing.”
The commendation for the RIBA President's Awards for Outstanding Practice-located Research was awarded to Biba Dow of Dow Jones Architects for the project Rubbish In: Resources Out, on which the judges commented “This research report presents a convincing and well-communicated case for how to manage the recycling of 85% of London’s waste by 2020, an aim set out in the London Plan (London’s Spatial Development Strategy) of 2004.”
The judges were impressed by the diversity of the entries in all three categories. The winners will be presented with awards at the annual RIBA President's Medals Awards ceremony on 2 December 2009, at the RIBA, W1.