The Blog

RIBA Presidents' Medals 2013

Just a quick note in general architectural news. Last night the RIBA Presidents' medals were awarded for 2013. These are widely regarded as some of the most acclaimed and prestigious awards for architecture students worldwide.

This year, purely by coincidence, two of the winning projects have followed a Russian theme. Often projects are selected for their thought-provoking nature, technical skill, presentation and analysis. The three projects this year all have a social purpose: protecting heritage, highlighting the challenges of changing urbanism and bringing people together with improved connectivity.

Ben Hayes's project, Kizhi Island, was awarded the RIBA Silver Medal (for the best RIBA Part II project) and was selected for its 'rigorous and accomplished design at all levels'. The project presents the concept of a museum landscape which will restore and reassemble 250 orthodox churches on the Island and aims to protect and restore a fragile Russian heritage. The project is ambitious in scale but maintains a high level of attention to detail.

Tamsin Hanke was awarded the Dissertation Medal for her work Magnitogorsk: Utopian vision of spatial socialism. Tamsin's dissertation seeks to determine how the current day city of Magnitogorsk is characterised by its past and how it is adapting to the social and political changes of Russia's contemporary capitalist economy. The project was selected not only for its sophisticated and engaging writing but also for its important contribution to studies of Soviet urbanism and the challenges it presents for Russia and its people today.

The RIBA Bronze Medal (for best Part 1 design project) was awarded to Ness Lafoy for her project Helsinki Archipelago Town Hall - a proposal for a mainland hub for people who inhabit the 455 islands in the archipelago which surround the capital of Finland. The project aims to improve connections between the mainland and the archipelago by introducing a postal service to remote islands and providing a place for the Island Council to meet so that they can begin to improve transport links and promote the archipelago to ensure it is not forgotten. This project was selected for both its relevant social agenda and original presentation imagery.

Each architecture school worldwide has the opportunity to submit one project for each award category. All of these selected projects will be exhibited at 66 Portland Place in London from the 5 December to the 29 January 2014. The exhibition is free and is often an interesting source of inspiration not just for architects and students, but for all members of the public with an interest in design.

The exhibition also coincides with a free exhibition on Emerging Architecture so if you are near Portland Place it is well worth dropping in this December and having a look.

For further information on the awards, projects, exhibitions and details of how to get to the RIBA, please visit