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Winners of the RIBA President’s Awards for Research announced

Bill Dunster has been named among the winners of this year’s RIBA President’s Awards for Research

The annual accolades recognise ‘high-quality research and encourage its distribution and incorporation into the wider profession’.

Eco-architect Dunster scooped this year’s award for practice-located research for his body of work entitled ZEDlife. The other awards were received by students from Sheffield University and the Bartlett School of Architecture.

The winners

RIBA President’s Award for Outstanding Master’s Degree Thesis

Fay Al Khalifa of Sheffield University: An urban healing agenda for reform in Bahrain: where the dweller falls into the urban gap and the sailing boat hits the skyscraper

Judges’ comments: Al Khalifa successfully tackled the implications of rapid change in Bahrain in a post-oil world in this well executed study. Although the struggle to find people willing to contribute is evident, the author has been able to consult with key players including the Bahrain Ministry of Culture and the University of Bahrain. This sophisticated MA is full of astute observations and recommendations; a relevant and important topic tackled well.

RIBA President’s Award for Outstanding PhD Thesis

Ricardo Agarez of the Bartlett School of Architecture, UCL: Regionalism, Modernism and Vernacular Tradition in the Architecture of the Algarve, Portugal, 1925 – 1965

Judges’ comments: The level of rigour in Agarez’ thesis was impressive, with the student searching every planning application and building control entry in libraries over a 40 year period, leading to a total of over 700 referenced cases.  The narrative of the thesis records the development of the student’s ideas and maturation as a researcher, making it an engaging read.

RIBA President’s Awards for Outstanding University-located Research

Adrian Forty of The Bartlett School of Architecture, UCL for his book Concrete and Culture, a Material History

Judges’ comments The book approaches concrete – a material often despised but with incredible potential – from an aesthetic and social stance rather than a technical one.  It uses clever examples and is well-written. The judges consider the book an enjoyable read and a significant achievement.

RIBA President’s Awards for Outstanding Practice-located Research

Bill Dunster of the ZED Factory for ZEDlife

Judges’ comments The judges were impressed by this important portfolio of work, praising it for its scope, scale and ambition.  The emergent critical process was excellently communicated via the journey through the various pioneering projects around the world. 

Yara Sharif of the University of Westminster and Wayne Forster of Cardiff University both received commendations from the judges.

RIBA president, Stephen Hodder said: ‘Investment and recognition of research into architecture is vital, it provides a lasting legacy for society and reminds us all of the importance of innovation and strategic thinking in our everyday work.’

Chair of the judging panel, Greg Penoyre of Penoyre & Prasad added: ‘The 2013 Presidents Awards for Research shortlist were another wide ranging and high quality set of submissions representing an immense amount of work. Across the four categories the panel reviewed research ranging from the theoretical and historical to the technical and design led. As always choosing the winners meant difficult decisions.  The submissions led to healthy discussions in the panel meetings around the relationship of research and architectural design.  There is no doubt this is an important issue, with research nourishing practice and increasingly, practice actively involved in research.  The panel were pleased to give awards and commendations to this years’ list of successful candidates.’

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