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Hong Kong student wins RIBA President’s Silver Medal

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A student from The Chinese University of Hong Kong has won the top honour in this year’s RIBA President’s Medals – the first time a student from an overseas school has scooped the award

Thomas Chee won the institute’s Silver Medal, awarded to the year’s best Part 2 design project, for his proposal Crafts Vault: The V&A Academy of Artisanal Crafts.

Tutored by former Herzog & de Meuron architect Peter Winston Ferretto and Ingrid Schröder, Chee explored the threat to traditional crafts caused by the 2008 economic crisis and new technology and proposed new ‘living craft workshops’ to be housed in London’s V&A.

Silver commendations were also given to two other students at overseas schools – Roven Rebeira from the City School of Architecture in Sri Lanka, and Mikki Ristola, from Aalto University in Finland. A further commendation was given to Molly De Courcy Wheeler from the University of Westminster.

Meanwhile, the Bronze Medal for the best Part 1 design project was handed to Allan Chong from Newcastle University for his concept Formless – An Alternative Typology for Preservation.

Chong explored how buildings can be preserved and transformed through a proposal to extend Sir John Soane’s Museum in London. He was tutored by Josep-Maria Garcia-Fuentes and Aldric Rodriguez Iborra. 

RIBA President Jane Duncan described the winners as ‘talent to watch’. 

The students’ ability to distil complex ideas and present them beautifully is outstanding

She added: ‘I’m delighted to see the breadth of talent from across the globe recognised through these awards, now celebrating their 180th anniversary. The students’ ability to distil complex ideas and present them beautifully is outstanding.’

Among the other award-winners, Roy Khatchadourian from the University of Liverpool won the Dissertation Medal for his proposal A Juxtaposition of Ideological Expressions: Evaluating the urban transformations of Yerevan (Armenia) during 1915-2015. Tutored by Iain Jackson, his dissertation investigated the role of architecture in creating a sense of identity after years of political oppression in the Armenian city of Yerevan.

Lucian Mocanu from the University of Greenwhich – tutored by Rahesh Ram and Tom Noonan – won the Serjeant Award for Excellence in Drawing for a Part 1 student, while James Bussey from the University of Kent – tutored by Adam Cole and George Thomson – bagged the equivalent accolade for a Part 2 student. 

The winners of the 2016 RIBA President’s Medals were announced at a ceremony at the RIBA’s HQ in Portland Place last night (6 December).

Founded in 1836, the medals ‘reward talent, promote innovation, and encourage excellence in the study of architecture worldwide’. This year 275 entries were received from 87 schools of architecture in 33 countries.

Last year’s Silver Medal winner was Finn Wilkie from the Mackintosh School of Architecture in Glasgow.

Winners, commendations and awards

Silver Medal: Part 2


Thomas Chee, The Chinese University of Hong Kongtutored by Peter Winston Ferretto and Ingrid Schroder, Crafts Vault: The V&A Academy of Artisanal Crafts


  • Molly De Courcy Wheeler, University of Westminster, UK, tutored by Sean Griffiths, More or Less, Bricks
  • Roven Rebeira, City School of Architecture, Sri Lanka, tutored by Tamara Wijayapala, Centre for Ethno-Elephantology: A cross-species design initiative
  • Mikki Ristola, Aalto University, Finland, tutored by Pekka Heikkinen,Visitor Centre for Petäjävesi Old Church

Bronze medal: Part 1


Allan Chong, Newcastle University, UK, tutored by Josep-Maria Garcia-Fuentes and Aldric Rodriguez Iborra, ‘Formless’ – An Alternative Typology for Preservation


  • Muneeb Ali Khan, London South Bank University, UK, tutored by Nicolas Pople, Lewes Art Foundry
  • Paolo Pisano, Architectural Association, UK, tutored by Ryan Dillon, The Thirty Years of Architecture: A short guide on abandoning accumulated memories at the mercy of an inclement weather
  • Samiur Rahman, University of Greenwich, UK, tutored by Rahesh Ram and Tom Noonan, Nuclear NOW!

Dissertation Medal


Roy Khatchadourian, University of Liverpool, tutored by Iain Jackson, A Juxtaposition of Ideological Expressions: Evaluating the urban transformations of Yerevan (Armenia) during 1915-2015


  • Tessa Forde, University of Auckland, New Zealand, tutored by Kathy Waghorn and Aaron Paterson, The House that Politics Built: Parliament Aotearoa
  • Phillipa Longson, The Cass, London Metropolitan University, UK, tutored by Joseph Kohlmaier, Are You My Mother? An exploration into the bonds between people and places
  • Robin Farmer, Bartlett School of Architecture, UCL, UK, tutored by Brent Carnell, A Flâneur’s Guide to Boystown: Performativity, pride and place

Serjeant Award for Excellence in Drawing: Part 1


Lucian Mocanu, University of Greenwich, tutored by Rahesh Ram and Tom Noonan, New Greenwich Civic Centre: A transformative architecture

Serjeant Award for Excellence in Drawing: Part 2


James Bussey, University of Kent, tutored by Adam Cole and George Thomson, The Company

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