The RIBA has revealed the names of 11 architects who will be the next recipients of highly-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 who have made a significant contribution towards advancing architecture.
Husband-and-wife partnership Peter Wilson and Julia Bolles also receive the honour as does South Africa’s Peter Rich whose Mapungubwe Interpretation Centre won the World Building of the Year award at WAF 2009.
Fellowships were also announced for US-based architects Emilio Ambasz and Antoine Predock, Spain’s Santiago Cirugeda, Portugal’s João Luís Carrilho da Graça and Australia’s Richard Leplastrier.
The fellowships will be awarded during a ceremony at the RIBA’s Portland Place base on 3 February next year.
Thom Mayne – architect, USA
Thom Mayne has a reputation for pushing at the boundaries of architecture while respecting its traditions in a way – according to RIBA – that has been likened to Mozart’s Sonata No 13 in B flat being played by punk stalwarts The Clash.
Mayne helped to found the Southern California Institute of Architecture (SCI-Arc) and the Morphosis practice in 1972, after training at the University of Southern California and Harvard.
Morphosis’ work includes: Sun Tower in Seoul, South Korea (1997); Diamond Ranch High School, in Pomona, California (1999); University of Toronto Graduate House, in Toronto (2000); the Bill and Melinda Gates Hall at Cornell University, New York (2013); and the wind-powered office building Le Phare (The Lighthouse) at La Défense, in Paris, which is due to be completed in 2017.
Mayne has held teaching positions at University College London’s Bartlett School of Architecture, as well as Columbia, Harvard, and Yale universities.
He was awarded the Pritzker Architecture Prize in 2005 and the American Institute of Architects Gold Medal in 2013.
Wang Shu & Lu Wenyu – architects, China
Architect and professor Wang Shu studied at the Nanjing Institute of Technology and practices in the city of Hangzhou. He is the dean of the School of Architecture of the China Academy of Art.
He founded Amateur Architecture Studio with wife Lu Wenyu in 1998, with the practice named in part to stress the importance of spontaneity, cultural traditions and craft skills.
Shu and Wenyu are highly critical of the part architects have played in the destruction of the traditional hutongs – courtyard-style homes divided by narrow alleyways - across large parts of Chinese cities. Their critique formed part of the Venice Architecture Biennale in 2006 with ‘Tiled Garden’, an installation made up of 66,000 tiles salvaged from demolition sites.
The couple’s principal works include: Library of Wenzheng College, Suzhou University (2000); Five Scattered Houses, Ningbo (2005); Xiangshan Campus of China Academy of Arts in Hangzhou (2004); and Ningbo History Museum, Ningbo (2008).
In 2010 the couple were awarded the Schelling Prize for Architecture, and in 2012, Wang became the first Chinese citizen to win the Pritzker Prize.
Peter Wilson & Julia Bolles – architects, Germany
Australian-born Peter Wilson and German-born Julia Bolles met while studying at the Architectural Association in London in the early 1970s.
They originally established their Bolles+Wilson practice in London before moving to Münster, in Germany, in 1988 after winning the competition to design a new city library.
The highly articulated building was a response to a complex urban situation, and its originality and excellence were demonstrated by the fact that it almost immediately became a mecca for architects and architectural students.
Other work includes the 360 degree red-wrapped Luxor Theatre in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, which was shortlisted for the 2001 Mies van der Rohe Prize; a visually striking, functionally ambiguous pair of harbour buildings in Münster (2006); and the highly tactile and contextual library in the heart of the Dutch city of Helmond (2010).
The couple are dedicated to teaching and have lectured and taught worldwide.
In 2009 they were rewarded with a Gold Medal at the XI International Triennale of Architecture in Cracow, Poland, and in 2013 Wilson was awarded the 2013 Gold Medal of the Australian Institute of Architects.
Emilio Ambasz – architect and industrial designer, USA
Emilio Ambasz was was born in Argentina and trained as an architect at Princeton University, where he has also taught.
Among his outstanding contributions to architecture are the Lucille Halsell Conservatory at the San Antonio Botanical Gardens in Austin, Texas; the Mycal Cultural Centre in Hyogo, Japan; the Fukuoka Prefectural and International Hall, Japan; and the Ospedale dell’Angello and the Banco del Occhio Medical Centre, both in Venice, Italy.
Ambasz’ Vertebra chair and Saturno range of street lights are acknowledged classics of industrial design.
He first came to public notice as the originator and organizer of a number of exhibitions at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, and represented the United States at the 1976 Venice Biennale.
Santiago Cirugeda – architect, Spain
Santiago Cirugeda is the personification of ‘guerrilla architecture’ and set up the collective Recetas Urbanas – which translates as Recipes for the City - to empower other citizens to find loopholes in planning laws to adapt and create their environments.
He has developed a series of subversive projects that explore the complexities of urban life, including the occupation of public spaces and containers; building prostheses into facades, patios and empty lots; and negotiating a way between legal and illegal zones.
Cirugeda has built housing units on rooftops, classrooms on top of a variety of institutions, and civic centres constructed from materials collected from about-to-be demolished buildings.
His website details how ‘habitable scaffoldings’ can be attached to the facades of existing buildings, and other dwellings built entirely from waste materials.
Recetas Urbanas is also working on a database of all sites in Spain that can be successfully architecturally recycled if and when such an opportunity presents itself.
João Luís Carrilho da Graça – architect, Portugal
João Luís Carrilho da Graça graduated from the Escola Superior de Belas Artes de Lisboa in 1977 and immediately set up his own practice, also lecturing at the Technical University of Lisbon until 1992.
His most significant works include the Archaeological Museum of Praça Nova do Castelo de São Jorge (2010), which was awarded the Piranesi Prix de Rome; the Pedestrian Bridge over Carpinteira stream in Covilhã, Portugal (2009); the School of Music at the Lisbon Polytechnic Institute (2008); and the Knowledge of the Seas Pavilion at the Lisbon Expo 1998.
From 2001 until 2010, he was professor at the Autonomous University of Lisbon and he has taught at the University of Evora since 2005. He headed the architecture department at both institutions until 2010.
Richard Leplastrier – architect, Australia
A key figure in Australian architecture and architectural education, Richard Leplastrier is best known for his small, exquisite buildings.
Leplastrier shies away from publicity and has little interest in having his projects published, yet he is the key philosophical influence behind much of the best work seen from Australia today.
His most important projects are: the tiny two bedroomed Palm Garden House, Northern Beaches, Sydney (1976); Rainforest House, Mapleton, Queensland (1991); Lovett Bay House, Sydney (1994); Cloudy Bay Retreat, Bruny Island, Tasmania (1996); and the Design Centre Tasmania, Launceston, Tasmania (2002).
Leplastrier had an extraordinary apprenticeship with Jørn Utzon, with whom he worked at the time of the Sydney Opera House and subsequently became associated with Kenzo Tange in Tokyo and Tomoya Masuda at Kyoto University.
The influence of Japanese design and craft is strong in his work, but he has brought to it a uniquely Australian identity.
Antoine Predock – architect, USA
Antoine Predock practices in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and employs an approach to architecture born out of the geographic surroundings of the American south-west.
Important buildings include: Shadow House, Santa Fe, New Mexico (2004); Flint River Quarium, Georgia (2004); Highlands Pond House, Colorado (2006); Corkins Lodge, Brazos, New Mexico (2012); and the Canadian Museum for Human Rights (2014).
Predock has also finished the new National Palace Museum in Taiwan and is working on a college complex and a museum in Doha, Qatar.
The American Institute of Architects presented Predock with its Gold Medal in 2006, contenting that more than any American architect of any time he had ‘asserted a personal and place-inspired vision’ of architecture.
Peter Rich – architect, South Africa
Peter Rich’s work was little known in Europe until the Mapungubwe Interpretation Centre was awarded the Building of the Year prize at the World Architecture Festival in Barcelona in 2009.
Rich’s greatest contribution to African architecture has been through his seminal research into African concepts of space-making in sub-Saharan Africa.
He founded the Kigali-based practice Light Earth Design in order to lead the development of local African building industries, particularly in land-locked countries, through the application of appropriate sustainable technologies. His research has also led to the development of first-generation African urban environments at densities in excess of 125 units per hectare.
As a practicing architect and as professor of architecture at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg for 30 years, he developed a contemporary architectural vocabulary that built on his research.
In 2010 Rich was awarded honorary fellowship of the American Institute of Architects and the South African Institute of Architects’ Gold Medal.