The RIBA President's Awards for Research, established to "promote and champion high-quality research and encourage its dissemination to the profession," have announced the 2014 laureates. Spanning four categories - Master's, PhD, University, and Practice-Located Research - the winning theses and projects highlight the need for research across the profession to nurture innovation and strategic thinking. Ruth Morrow, chair of the jury and Professor at Queen's University Belfast, commented on the judging panel's "disappointment" at the lack of entries submitted from outside London.
The disparity between the six London based schools and those in the rest of the UK (of which there are more than forty high-calibre institutions) continually makes itself manifest in RIBA student awards. In spite of this, half of the awards and commendations given this year are for students studying at schools outside the capital; the remaining half were awarded to students of The Bartlett (UCL). Morrow hopes that "next year, in the 10th anniversary year of the awards, that more universities and practices from across the nations and regions will submit entries."
See this year's winning and commended projects after the break.
According to Stephen Hodder, President of the RIBA, "the RIBA’s commitment to the advancement of architecture is inextricably linked to the acquirement of knowledge through new research. These awards celebrate the latest research innovation in our profession which will inform and challenge how we work in the future." Morrow commented on behalf of the jury, stating that "reaching a decision about winners for the RIBA President’s Awards for Research is always an exciting and challenging process. We were pleased to have such a diverse range of work to choose from – leading to some passionate and lengthy discussions at the final judging meeting."
RIBA President’s Award for Outstanding Master’s Degree Thesis
Repurposed Pasts? Architecture and Identity in the Gothic Revival University / Stephen Gage, University of Cambridge
A difficult subject, tackled very well, with an interesting approach and findings. The judges thought the thesis extremely rigorous – noting in particular the author’s particular ability in investigating parameters – and significant. They also noted the very fine drawings that supported the author’s analysis.
RIBA President’s Award for Outstanding PhD Thesis
While no award was given in this category, two PhD’s were worthy of commendation.
Part-architecture: the Maison de Verre through the Large Glass / Emma Cheatle, Bartlett School of Architecture
A sophisticated PhD with significant attention to detail and reflection. The judges found the historical aspect interesting and the descriptions of buildings enlightening and original. The judges were happy to commend the work as the author’s analytical approach was strong and rational.
The Protected Vista: An Intellectual and Cultural History, As Seen from Richmond Hill / Tom Bridgen, University of Newcastle
Original research drawing on both historical and contemporary sources, the thesis was well-research and presented, and explored important ideas in an area lacking in precedent. The judges thought that this ambitious PhD was deserving of a commendation.
RIBA President’s Award for Outstanding University-Led Research
Winner: Bathroom / Barbara Penner, Bartlett School of Architecture
The judges applauded this outstanding work for tackling an often overlooked area. In covering various points of view, including design and politics, the judges considered the research to be a good polemic with just the right amount of provocation for readers. The author’s passion for the subject made the work all the more interesting.
A book on an interesting topic, rigorously researched, that made for a fascinating read. The judges felt that the authors had generally done an excellent job in writing a very readable book on architectural politics and that it was worthy of a commendation.
Commendation: Remaking London: Decline and Regeneration in Urban Culture / Ben Campkin, Bartlett School of Architecture
The clear structure and accessible writing made this fascinating piece of work deserving of a commendation. The judges applauded the effort required to tackle such an expansive subject, breaking into areas about which not enough has been written previously.
RIBA President’s Award for Outstanding Practice-Led Research
No winner was given in this category, although one project was worthy of commendation.
The Climate Adaptive Neighbourhoods (CAN) Project / Robert Barker, Baca Architects
This detailed analysis of the East Norwich housing that was a case study in the practice’s Lifeproject research resulted in findings that are pertinent and applicable to future housing developments on flood-prone sites. The judges felt this excellent research worthy of a commendation.