The RIBA will formally award the German architect and engineer Frei Otto the Royal Gold Medal at the institute's Portland Place headquarters this evening.
RIBA president George Ferguson will present the medal to the celebrated proponent of tent structures at a black tie dinner.
The award is for a body of work, rather than for one building or for an architect who is currently fashionable. Previous winners include Le Corbusier (1953), Sir Giles Gilbert Scott (1925), Frank Gehry (2000) and Archigram (2002), amongst others.
Speaking about the presentation, George Ferguson commented: 'It gives me the greatest pleasure to present Frei Otto with the Royal Gold Medal.
'He has always been one of my architectural and engineering heroes and has a genuine claim to be one of the real greats of the twentieth century. I hope he will recognise this as the crowning of a truly outstanding and pioneering career.
'I'm delighted HM the Queen has agreed that we should add his name to the very distinguished list of architects and others who have been awarded this great honour over the past 156 years,' Ferguson added.by Ed Dorrell