From a dystopian vision of Brixton, to a sanctuary for quarry workers in Bangalore, to new homes for a remote Aboriginal community in Australia, this year's RIBA President's Medals Student Awards, in association with Atkins, show how today's architecture students around the world are grappling with pressing social issues and, through architecture, coming up with original solutions.
Kibwe Tavares, a student of The Bartlett, University College London, has won the Silver Medal - awarded to a Part 2 project (second degree) - for Robots of Brixton. Taking the existing buildings of Brixton as a starting point, and eerily prescient of this summer's riots in English cities, this startling short film combines architectural drawings and futuristic animation to comment on the social tensions of inner city life.
"We were stunned by the research work that went into making this film: not only had an urban environment been designed but the film itself was a complex design project," the judges commented. "An amazing piece of work that is truly exciting and inspirational."
The Bronze Medal - for a Part 1 project (first degree) - has been awarded to Basmah Kaki, a student at the Architectural Association. An acoustic lyrical mechanism is an ingenious design which exploits the natural environment to create a sanctuary for workers, protecting them from damage caused by noise pollution in an Indian granite quarry.
"This is beautifully presented, but equally impressive is the journey of architectural exploration," said the judges. "Prototypes have been made, and topographical models used to help analyse the impact of wind and the visual and sound environment that the building would create.'
Hannah Robertson, of the University of Melbourne, received the Dissertation Medal for her work Bush Owner Builder which develops culturally sensitive and appropriate homes for an indigenous community in the far north of Queensland. Designs that emerged from working closely with the Aboriginal community are now being built on 'homeland' sites.
"This dissertation warmed our hearts with its social concern," the judges commented. "A sensitive and respectful piece of work, it rethinks the world of the architect and shows people not as clients but as genuine participants in the creative architectural process."
"The winners of this year's RIBA President's Medals show the outstanding talent of today's architecture students," said RIBA President Angela Brady. "With highly creative and inspired thinking they are confronting real social issues - and showing how quality architectural design improves the quality of people's lives. I am delighted to present these awards."