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Benedetta Tagliabue lands 2013 Jencks Award

EMBT Miralles Tagliabue founding director Benedetta Tagliabue has won this year’s RIBA Jencks Award

The high-profile architect – who designed Scotland’s parliament with her partner the late Enric Minralles – will receive the award at the RIBA on 19 November.

Tagliabue – who has designed a new outpost for Charles Jencks’ Maggies Centre charity in Barcelona – will also deliver a ticketed public lecture on the same day.

The annual Charles Jencks’ is given to an individual or practice that has recently made a major international contribution to both the theory and practice of architecture.

Previous winners of the accolade include Rem Koolhaas in 2012, Stephen Holl in 2010 and Zaha Hadid seven years ago.

Commenting on the award Jencks said: ‘I am delighted to announce that the judging panel of the 2013 RIBA Jencks Award was unanimous in premiating the extraordinary talent and career that Benedetta Tagliabue has had, particularly while leading the EMBT Miralles Tagliabue studio to create a tough, warm, surprising, complex and open-ended architecture that is very much like the city from where it springs, Barcelona.’

Tickets for the lecture cost £9 or £6.50 for RIBA members, students and concessions. 

Charles Jencks’ citation for Benedetta Tagliabue:

‘Think Global – Act Local’. Many global architects have paid lipservice to this maxim but only a handful have lived up to the challenge and had the patience and skill to turn it into a new art. Benedetta Tagliabue, with the firm that she and her late husband Enric Miralles started, has developed a new sort of architectural practice and way of building. Taking time and incorporating the depth of complexity that only time allows, her group and loyal team have together created what has been called an ‘agglutinative architecture’.

I wouldn’t want to burden anyone with this pretentious and hard to pronounce phrase except in order to make them stop dead in their tracks, take a hard look at an urban scheme of EMBT, and think. It is made from many simple parts and put together as a ‘compound idea of many forms’. It derives an ornament from this process of agglutinate design, and many constructional methods directly expressed. It has the pleasant informal rhetoric of an adhocist approach. It presents the Time City as continual work in progress. It is tough, warm, surprising, complex, open-ended and very like the city from which it springs, Barcelona.

While other architects there have rejected, or been frightened of extending some lessons of its master, Antoni Gaudi, EMBT has honoured this tradition without letting it down. Of no other practice can that be said. The theory of EMBT is always in the practice of this ‘time architecture of compounds’ and the unique office mentality that Benedetta Tagliabue has continued with today.







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