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Mac student wins top RIBA student award

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A Part 2 student from the Mackintosh School of Architecture in Glasgow has won the top honour in this year’s RIBA President’s Medals

Finn Wilkie was handed the institute’s Silver Medal - awarded to the best Part 2 design project - for his proposal The Heteroglossic City: A polemic against critical reconstruction in Berlin. Tutored by Robert Mantho, Wilkie investigated the background of Berlin’s highly-controlled planning system before setting out a new strategy for architectural intervention.

His victory ends a victorious run of Silver Medal wins for the Bartlett School of Architecture (The Bartlett wins the top RIBA students’ award – again).

However the school, which is part of University College London, did collect the Bronze Medal for the nation’s best Part 1 student.

Boon Yik Chung landed the medal for his project Space as the Third Teacher: An alternative classroom typology promoting creative learning and play’.

The student explored flexibility in classroom design by researching schools in Amsterdam and Rotterdam designed by Herman Hertzberger and drawing on his own personal experiences of school spaces in Malaysia. The project, tutored by Rhys Cannon and Colin Herperger, concluded that ambiguous, open-ended spaces rather than wholly flexible rooms provide the best learning environments.

The school’s Part 2 Benjamin Ferns also won the Serjeant Award for Excellence in Drawing for his Pontifical Academy of Sciences project. In addition the RIBA President’s Award for Outstanding Master’s Degree Thesis went to Christopher Purpura - another Bartlett student - for his Holding Hands, Touching Alterity: Dance as Spatial Practice at Monte Verità, 1914’. The piece, an attempt to open up alternative histories of spatial practices, was an account of the self-sustaining, anarchist community at Monte Verità set up by the architect-movement theorist Rudolph Laban in 1913.

The award for Outstanding PhD Thesis went to Torsten Schroeder at the LSE Sociology Department, Cities Programme with Translating the concept of sustainability into architectural design practices: London’s City Hall as an exemplar.

There were also awards for Katrin Bohn and Andre Viljoen from the School of Art, Design and Media, University of Brighton who collected the award for Outstanding University-located Research with their Second Nature Urban Agriculture: Designing Productive Cities - ’a consolidation of a systematic body of research undertaken over the last decade.

Walter Menteth picked up the RIBA President’s Award for Outstanding Practice-located Research and the inaugural RIBA Research Medal with his Pathways to Construction Procurement Reform leading to adoption and embedding of EU Directive 2004/24/EU.

According to the judges the study ‘demonstrated tenacity and commitment’ to produce a ‘comprehensive investigation into the area of procurement reform of increasingly urgent relevance to the profession’.

The awards were handed out at a ceremony in Portland Place tonight (2 December).

RIBA President's Medals 2015

RIBA President’s Medals 2015

Space as the Third Teacher by Boon Yik Chung from the Bartlett [Bronze Medal winner - Part 1]

Other winners, commendations and awards

Silver Medal: Part 2

High commendation

  • Marcus Rothnie and Marshall Inglis (Edinburgh School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture): ‘Chlorophyllous Urbanism: Mumbai’


  • Gemma Wheeler (Cardiff University): ‘Re-Storying the Workhouse: An alternative conservation strategy’
  • Alistair Wood (De Montfort University): ‘Lofoten Seasonal Fishery’

Serjeant Award for Excellence in Drawing

  • Benjamin Ferns (Bartlett School of Architecture, UCL): ‘Pontifical Academy of Sciences’

Bronze Medal: Part 1

High commendation

  • Douglas Miller (Bartlett School of Architecture, UCL): ‘The San Francisco Columbarium’


  • Sophie Barks (University of Nottingham): ‘The Mnemonic Guild’
  • Hong Xi (Nanjing University, China): ‘Academic Landscape: Regenerate a riverside warehouse as an emblem of active learning’

Serjeant Award for Excellence in Drawing

  • Andrew Chard (Oxford Brookes University): ‘The Lost Dockyard’

Dissertation Medal 


  • Zeina Al-Derry (Architectural Association): ‘The Melancholic City of Mirages’
  • Irene Klokkari (University of Brighton): ‘Memories of Famagusta: Recapturing the image of the city through the memories of refugees’
  • Niamh Lincoln (University of Sheffield): ‘Tempelhof – Articulating the Void’

RIBA President’s Award for Outstanding PhD Thesis


  • Isis Paola Nunez Ferrera, University of Westminster ‘Territories of Scarcity and Creativity: A Critical view on Informal Settlements and Emerging Tactics under Conditions of Scarcity in Nairobi, Kenya and Quito Ecuador’. Supervised by Professor Jeremy Till and Jon Goodbun


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