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RIBA reveals winner for 2016 President’s Awards for Research

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A collaboration between the Bartlett and an Eritrean heritage project has won the 2016 RIBA President’s Medal for Research 

Bartlett academic Edward Denison, Medhanie Teklemariam and Dawit Abraha were handed the award for their proposal Asmara – Africa’s Modernist City: UNESCO World Heritage Nomination.

The research – supported by the Asmara Heritage Project Team – is forming part of Eritrea’s first application to list Asmara as a UNESCO’s World Heritage Site.

The overall medal winner was selected from the champion of each of the four catergories: Cities and Community, Design and Technical, History and Theory, and the annual theme Learning from Projects.

The annual awards champion the best research in the fields of architecture and the built environment.

Some 75 submissions from 14 countries were submitted for the awards – a record-breaking number – including 22 entries from architecture practices.

Earlier this year the RIBA announced the relaunch of the awards with four new categories.

The judging panel, which was chaired by Peter Clegg, senior partner at Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios, included the AJ’s sustainability editor Hattie Hartman and Assemble director Amica Dall.

Hartman said: ’This year’s winner, Asmara, the modernist capital of Eritrea, puts the spotlight on an internationally significant and under-recognised heritage site that is under threat from lack of resources and conservation guidance. If winning this award bolsters Asmara’s upcoming UNESCO World Heritage Site application, that would be a fantastic outcome of this awards programme.

‘This year’s revamped awards attracted a wide range of entries. I hope to see even more practice-based research come through the pipeline next year.’

Dr Kat Martindale, RIBA Head of Research and Innovation, said: ’The research from this year’s cohort spans cutting edge technologies, reflective historical work and addresses one of the most prominent contemporary issues both in the UK and around the world, that of ‘home’.’

Previous winners include Walter Menteth of Walter Menteth Architects, Bill Dunster of ZEDfactory, and Stephen George & Partners. 

Winners of the 2016 President’s Awards for Research:

  • Cities and Community
    The Common Camp: Temporary Settlements as a Spatio-political Instrument in Israel-Palestine, Dr Irit Katz, University of Cambridge, UK
  • Design and Technical
    Supertall Timber: Design Research for the Next Generation of Natural Structure, Dr Michael Ramage and Dr Rob Foster, University of Cambridge, UK, Simon Smith, Smith and Wallwork, UK, Kevin Flanagan & Ron Bakker, PLP / Architecture, UK
  • History and Theory
    Asmara – Africa’s Modernist City: UNESCO World Heritage Nomination, Edward Denison, The Bartlett School of Architecture, UK, Medhanie Teklemariam and Dawit Abraha, Asmara Heritage Project, Eritrea 
  • Annual theme: Learning from Projects
    Make Public: Performing Public Housing in Ernö Goldfinger’s Balfron Tower, David Roberts, Bartlett School of Architecture, UK


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