The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) announced the winners of the 2012 President's Medals at a special ceremony in central London. The prestigious RIBA Presidents Medals, which date back to 1836, reward talent and excellence in the study of architecture.
"Congratulations to our deserving President's Medal winners who have fought-off tough competition from the best students of architecture from around the world and truly excelled with their innovative, challenging and thought-provoking projects," commented Angela Brady, President of RIBA.
"2012 has been a record-breaking year for the RIBA President's Medals with the highest number of entries ever in the 176 year history of the awards. It is an honour to present these awards to the future trailblazers of the architecture profession."
Sunbloc, a collaborative project by a team of students from London Metropolitan University, received the RIBA Silver Medal (awarded for best post-graduate design work).
Sunbloc is a lightweight and heavily-insulated prototype house constructed using a pioneering system of foam blocks and steel cables. The inexpensive structure is designed to produce more electricity than it consumes over an annual cycle. The judges rewarded the detailed study and solid body of research involved in the project and were highly impressed with the team's entrepreneurial spirit and ability to complete a real building. The students were tutored by Eva Diu, Nathaniel Kolbe, Jonas Lundberg, Toby Burgess and Iain Maxwell.
Vidhya Pushpanathan from the Architectural Association was awarded the Bronze Medal (for best undergraduate design project) for her project The Depository of Forgotten Monuments.
The Depository of Forgotten Monuments addresses Moscow's paradox of deconstruction and reconstruction. The project suggests a flexible architectural framework. As both a curatorial strategy and an urban prototype, it suggests an opportunity for a hybrid between the city's cultural and commercial art sites and an allowance for the co-existence of past and future. The project was deemed by the judges to reveal a fresh and sophisticated quality of thinking. Vidhya Pushpanathan was tutored by Maria Fedorchenko and Tatiana von Preussen.
Matthew Leung from the Bartlett School of Architecture, UCL, was awarded the Dissertation Medal for his work Oriental Orientalism in Japan - the case of Yokohama Chinatown.
The judges considered this a highly accomplished dissertation on the development of a pocket of Chinese style within a major Japanese city. Drawing from an impressive breadth of sources, Matthew Leung meticulously composes a picture that brings a careful reading of history to bear upon the complex contemporary reality. Critically astute, beautifully written and illustrated, this piece never loses sight of the architectural dimension of its topic, offering a thoroughly convincing and sophisticated discussion of an unexpected and topical subject. The dissertation was supervised by Professor Murray Fraser.