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RIBA reveals 2014 international fellowships

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The RIBA has announced the recipients of this year’s coveted international fellowships

The high-profile life honour – which allows recipients to add the initials Int FRIBA after their names – is awarded to non-UK architects have made a significant contribution towards advancing architecture.

This year’s selection featured a raft of Spanish practitioners including architect and academic Alberto Campo Baeza; the architects, publishers editors and curators Fernando Márquez Cecilia and Richard Levene; and the architect, writer and curator Luis Fernández-Galiano.

Fellowships were also announced for Austrian architect Herman Czech, Swiss architects Marcel Meili, Luigi Snozzi and Markus Peter and American architects Tod Williams + Billie Tsien.

Dutch architect, author, curator, editor and educator Max Risselada completes the list.

The fellowships will be awarded during a ceremony at the RIBA’s Portland Place base on 25 February 2014.

Citations: RIBA International Fellows 2014


Alberto Campo Baeza - architect, Spain

Campo Baeza is a practitioner, teacher and theorist. He believes in architecture not as an abstract intellectual concept but as a built idea – his book of that title has run to twenty editions. As a result his buildings are highly innovative but they work.  He was born in Valladolid where his grandfather worked as an architect, but moved south to Cadiz at an early age, where he learned intuitively about the importance of the play of light on landscape and buildings. In addition to light, he believes that the principal components of architecture are gravity, space and time.

He studied architecture at the Madrid School of Architecture where he has taught now for more than a quarter of a century. He has also taught at the ETH, Zurich and the EPFL in Lausanne, as well as at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, Columbia, New York, Kansas and the Bauhaus, Weimar, as well as in Dublin, Naples, Virginia and Copenhagen.

His built work has been the subject of many exhibitions and the won many awards. Two recent schemes have been nominated for the Mies van der Rohe Awards: MA Museum in Granada in 2011, and the offices for the regional government of Zamora in 2012.

His work has been exhibited at Mies van der Rohe’s Crown Hall in Chicago, in Palladio’s Basilica in Vicenza; the Urban Center in New York; Saint Irene Church in Istanbul; the Central House of Artists in Moscow; the MA Gallery of Toto in Tokyo and MAXXI in Rome.

He has received many awards, such as the Torroja for his Caja Granada building. He was awarded the Buenos Aires Biennial 2009 for his Nursery for Benetton in Venice and his MA Museum in Granada. He has recently been nominated by the American Academy of Arts and Letters for the prestigious Arnold W. Brunner Memorial Prize of 2010.

Other schemes include the single family houses Casa Turégano and Casa de Blas, both in Madrid; Casa Gaspar, Casa Asencio and Casa Guerrero in Cádiz; the Olnick Spanu House in Garrison, New York; the Centro BIT in Inca-Mallorca; the Caja de Granada Savings Bank and the Museum of Andalusian Memory, both in Granada; a nursery for Benetton in Venice; Between Cathedrals in Cádiz; and an office building in Zamora.

Fernando Marquez Cecilia + Richard Levene - architects, publishers, editors and curators, Spain

It is hard to imagine the world of architectural publishing without the dependable series that El Croquis has become in the past decades since its inauguration in 1982 and over 167 editions. Particularly in today’s world of vanity publishing, in which almost anything can – and unfortunately does – get published and circulated, it is refreshing that the small team run by Márquez and Levene continues to maintain the exceptional quality of their highly selective publications.

They publish the work of not only internationally established architects but of promising younger practitioners whose work exhibits a theoretical grounding even if they have built very little. Their particular gift for tracking down and supporting these architects in the formative years of their careers not only helps these young professionals in establishing their reputation, but at the same time has created retrospectively an international Who’s Who of the architecture of the late 20th and early 21st centuries.

These are consistent and high quality productions. Márquez and Levene take care in the selection of texts to explain the work of the architect; the explanation of the concepts behind each project; exhaustive interviews with their subjects; the set of clear and beautiful drawings; and the sequence of invariably excellent. All this scholarship (way beyond journalism) is complemented by not over-styled photographs by Hisao Suzuki who has been working as an integral part of the El Croquis team for many years.

Further to their activities as editors and publishers, in 1999 Márquez and Levene inaugurated the El Croquis Architecture Gallery that exhibits, in model form, the most significant construction projects in Spain.  As architects Fernando and Richard designed their own offices and exhibition centre in Madrid.

For their generosity, dedication and the excellence with which they the disseminate the cultural values that promote a broader understanding of the role that excellence in architecture plays in our society, Marquez and Levene are worthy recipients of RIBA International Fellowship.

Hermann Czech - architect, Austria

Hermann Czech’s work is extraordinarily heterogeneous, ranging from one-off new buildings including houses, cafes and restaurants, creative re-use projects, to major planning schemes.

He was born in Vienna, studied architecture under Konrad Wachsmann at the Summer Academy Salzburg and Ernst A Plischke at the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna. He has taught at the University of Applied Arts in Vienna, at Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts, at ETH Zurich, at TU Vienna, and at the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna.

His planning work includes a subway network project for Vienna (1967); a competition project for the Danube Island, Vienna (1974); the planning for the U3-West subway line, Vienna (1985-89); a winning competition project for the urbanization of SS (and GDR) barracks next to the memorial site of the former concentration camp Sachsenhausen, Oranienburg (1993).

His major buildings include: a pedestrian bridge in City Park, Vienna; a number of  residential blocks in Vienna; a school in Vienna; the winter glazing of the loggia of the Vienna Opera House; the conversion of the Bank Austria building in Vienna; Fair Hotel, Vienna; and several restaurants, bars and cafés in Vienna, Zurich and Caldaro (Italy).

Czech is author of numerous critical and theoretical publications. In his architecture is background the notions of conversion and mannerism play a significant role. He has written numerous critical and theoretical publications on the architecture of Otto Wagner, Adolf Loos, Josef Frank and Christopher Alexander.

Among the many awards he has received for his work are an Award for Architecture from the City of Vienna, 1985; and a Prize of the Academy of the Arts Berlin, 2001.

Hermann participated in the Architectural Section of the Biennale di Venezia in 1980, 1991, 2000, and 2012, and he curated personal exhibitions in 9H Gallery, London 1987, and in Architekturmuseum Basel, 1996. He has also designed many exhibitions including: Vienna 1938, Vienna Town Hall, 1988.

Luis Fernandez Galiano - architect and author, Spain

Luis Fernández-Galiano is an architect, professor at the School of Architecture, Madrid, and editor of Architectura Viva. Between 1993 and 2006 he was in charge of the weekly architecture page of Spain’s leading newspaper El País, where he now writes in the Op-Ed section.

A member of Spain’s Royal Academy of Fine Arts and of the Royal Academy of Doctors, Luis has been Cullinan Professor at Rice University, Franke Fellow at Yale University, a visiting scholar at the Getty Center of Los Angeles and a visiting critic at Princeton, Harvard and the Berlage Institute. He has also taught courses at the Menéndez Pelayo and Complutense universities. He chaired the international architecture congress More for Less in 2010. Luis was the president of the jury in the 9th Venice Architecture Biennale; he has been a member of the Holcim Awards jury for region Europe in 2008 and a member of the first jury for the Mies van der Rohe Prize. He was President of the jury in the 9th Venice Architecture Biennial and in the XV Chile Architecture Biennial. 

He is the joint author with Carlos Jimenez of a monograph on the Spanish architect and RIBA International Fellow Francisco Mangado. He recently edited the proceedings of the international congress Architecture and the Common which he organized in Pamplona in June 2012, which featured presentations from Norman Foster, Anna Heringer, Solano Benitez, Roger Dierner, Antonio Cruz, Vasa Perovic, Manuel Aires Mateus, Eduardo Souto de Moura and Rafael Moneo.

He has curated the exhibitions El espacio privado, Extreme Eurasia (in Tokyo and in Madrid), Bucky Fuller & Spaceship Earth and Jean Prouvé: Industrial Beauty (these last two with Norman Foster), as well as Spain mon amour (in the 13th Venice Architecture Biennale and in Madrid). He has been on the jury of numerous international competitions in Europe, America and Asia, including those of the National Library of Mexico, the National Art Museum of China and the National Library of Israel, as president in this last case. He is the author of architecture books including La Quimera Moderna; Fire and Memory: On Architecture and Energy, which traces the origins of architecture from ancient history through to current times; Spain Builds (in collaboration with New York’s MoMA) and Atlas, Global Architecture circa 2000.

Marcel Meili and Markus Peter, architects, Switzerland

Marcel Meili belongs to an architectural generation – a little younger than Jacques Herzog, Pierre de Meuron and Roger Diener - educated at ETH Zürich in the 1970s, an institution that has acquired almost mythical status not only in Switzerland but throughout the architectural world. At that time the school was still heavily influenced by the thinking of Aldo Rossi, and interested in the edge conditions of our cities: interstitial infrastructure, industrial estates and working-class neighbourhoods. Meili contributed to this discourse not only in early speculative projects but in his writings, revealing a lucid understanding of the condition of Swiss architecture today.

Conversely, Peter was trained a few years later through the alternative route open to Swiss architects: an apprenticeship followed by technical college, which imparted a more practical understanding of construction-related issues. Thus, Peter’s technological expertise combined with Meili’s academic perspective in an architecture characterised equally by conceptual coherence and constructional experimentation.

One of the practice’s better-known projects, the timber engineering school in Bienne (1990-1999), clearly illustrates this general strategy. The building grapples with the requirements of its programme on several levels. As a high-rise, large-span timber structure with tectonically expressed timber facades and only the circulation cores cast in concrete, the project explored over a number of years the limits of timber construction and fire protection treatments.

Their work reveals a consistent approach, rooted both in a profound familiarity with the rational (Swiss) city and knowledge of Western architectural history. This is grounded in typological research but developed in the direction of a more literary, poetic appraisal of the contradictions within urban environments.

The recent built work of Meili, Peter Architekten includes the RiffRaff cinema in Zurich, the Zurich Central Station extension, the Swiss Re Center for Global Dialogue in Rüschlikon, and the Hyatt Hotel in Zurich. Major current projects include the Zurich Football Stadium, the Helvetia Insurance Headquarters, Milan, and the “Mitten in München” complex, a large passage in the old town of Munich.

Max Risselada - author, curator, editor and educator, The Netherlands

Primarily a thinker and a writer about architecture Max Risselada was born in the former Dutch East Indies and trained as an architect at the Delft University of Technology, where he is now emeritus Professor of Architecture. For many years he directed the Faculty of Architecture’s Department of Architectural Collections and Productions. Through Risselada’s four decades of work at the University, not only did the department of Architecture at Delft achieve international recognition, but Risselada became well known internationally for the depth and integrity of his research on Modern Architecture. He also lectures and gives master classes at, among others, the Berlage Institute and Madrid School of Architecture.

In a two year sabbatical in early 1970s he left Delft to join the office of Charles and Ray Eames – an experience that made a deep impression on his architecture and his thinking.

His best-known books have resulted from the major exhibitions that he has curated, such as the Raumplan versus Plan Libre exhibition (1987) in which he compared the work of Adolf Loos and Le Corbusier between the years 1919 - 1930. The book has become a staple of virtually all schools of architecture worldwide, and remains a treat in store for those who are yet to discover it.

In 1999 Risselada published Fuctionalism 1927-1961 – Hans Sharoun versus die Opbouw.  In 2004 he wrote with Dirk van den Heuvel and Beatrix Colomina Alison & Peter Smithson – From the House of the Future to a House of Today (a subject he returned to in 2011 with a collection of critical essays). In 2005 he curated the exhibition and published the associated catalogue Team 10 - In Search of a Utopia of the Present – now a standard text on the work of team members Aldo van Eyck, the Smithsons, Giancarlo de Carlo and Candilis Josic Woods. In a further volume he updated the story of modern Dutch architecture in Past Modernism: Three Generations of Postwar Dutch Architecture - Aldo van Eyck, Herman Hertzberger and Mecanoo, which he wrote to accompany an exhibition that formed the Dutch contribution to 2000 Architecture Biennal in Sao Paulo.

Luigi Snozzi – architect, Switzerland

‘For Luigi Snozzi architecture is a public issue and a part of the political sphere. For him design is an act of political activism. And as he says, ‘A design speaks a much clearer language than any manifesto.’

‘Snozzi is the one of the most important exponents of contemporary architecture in Ticino today. For Snozzi, building is a decidedly public affair. His deep-rooted respect for the historical context of each building site is therefore balanced by a determination that any intervention should be of equally high quality and distinctly modern.

Snozzi’s built work, which includes single family houses, social housing, commercial and public buildings, is characterized by its sensitive and intelligent use of materials.  A masterful use of exposed concrete distinguishes most of his work.

Called into the Ticino village of Monte Carasso in 1978 to deliver a simple re-use job involving the conversion of an old convent into a school, Snozzi seized the opportunity to develop a complete new masterplan and road network, which better defined the historic core, created new open spaces and increased densities in the town centre. 

This exemplary case has earned world-wide respect for the municipality and at the same time bestowed it with modern architecture of the highest calibre. A masterful use of exposed concrete distinguishes most of his work which has included villas, offices and public welfare buildings.

Working principally in Locarno and Lugano, he studied at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich before opening his own office in Locarno in 1958. From 1962 to 1971, Snozzi worked in association with architect Livio Vacchini. From 1982 to 1984, he was a Visiting Professor and in 1985 he was appointed Professor of Architecture at École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne. Today, Snozzi is a professor of the University of Sassari, at the Faculty of Architecture of Alghero, Sardinia. In 1993 his work was honored with the Wakker Prize and the Prince of Wales Prize in urban design.

‘The words of the Swiss playwright Max Frisch perhaps best sum up Snozzi’s thinking: ‘Utopia consists in believing that things do not have to be as they are.’

Tod Williams + Billie Tsien – architects, USA

Matter, light, texture, detail and most of all experience are the essence of Tod Williams + Billie Tsien’s architecture. Parallel to their practice, they maintain active teaching careers and lecture worldwide. As educators and practitioners they are committed to making a better world through architecture.

They began working together in New York in 1977 and nine years later established their practice in the same Central Park South Studio in which they work today. The currently twenty seven person firm works primarily for institutions that value issues of aspiration and meaning, timelessness and beauty, designing buildings that are exquisitely made and useful in ways that speak to both efficiency and the spirit.

The pair’s dynamic work is best experienced on the move – it is not meant to be seen straight on. This may well derive in part from Tod’s keenness on physical activity. A bungee jumper, a rollerblader and a dare-devil cyclist on New York’s dangerous streets, he is a man who, in his own words ‘locates the world with the soles of his feet.’ Billie is happiest curled up with a book, usually fiction, seldom about architecture. She brings the sense of space that characterises their architecture. Tod says that it is Billie’s ‘pauses, the pacing, the understanding of the work, that elevates it into an art.’

Their architecture has long been praised for its Kahnian robust materiality, typified by their 2012 Barnes Foundation Art Museum in Philadelphia, with its timeless sculptural forms that capture the spirit of the original galleries. With its syncopated façade of Israeli limestone framed with five inch deep stainless steel recesses, this is an appropriately monumental building.

Their other major works include Hereford College, University of Virginia (1992); The Neurosciences Institute, La Jolla (1995); Long Island Residence, New York (1999); Cranbrook Schools Natatorium, Bloomfield Hills, Michigan (1999)American Folk Art Museum, New York (2001); Skirkanich Hall, University of Pennsylvania (2006); Phoenix Art Museum expansion, Phoenix, Arizona (2006); East Asian Library, University of California, Berkeley (2007).

Their book The Architecture of the Barnes Foundation is their second published work, their first was Work Life - Williams + Tsien published in 2000. In it they wrote: ‘We see architecture as an act of profound optimism. Its foundation lies in believing that it is possible to make places on earth that can give a sense of grace to life – and in believing that matters. It is what we have to give and it is what we leave behind.’







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