Three architects received Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) President’s Medals earlier this month for far-reaching projects including the restoration of 250 wooden Orthodox churches, the creation of a hub for 455 Finnish islanders, and the imagining of socialism as a spatial development.
The Silver Medal went to Ben Hayes for his project “Kizhi Island.” This proposal is for a museum landscape that will restore and reassemble 250 wooden Orthodox churches on Kizhi Island in Northern Russia. ‘Kizhi Island’ addresses two challenges—it protects and restores a fragile heritage that is on the verge of extinction and dramatically redesigns the visitor experience on the island.
The Bronze Medal went to Ness Lafoy for her project “Helsinki Archipelago Town Hall,” a proposal for a mainland hub for over 50,000 people who inhabit the 455 islands in the archipelago that surrounds the capital of Finland. The Helsinki Archipelago Town Hall provides a warm clubhouse and accommodation for the islanders’ overnight trips to Helsinki. It improves connections between the mainland and the archipelago by introducing a postal service to remote islands and providing a place for the Island Council to meet so that they can begin to improve transport links and promote the archipelago to ensure it is not forgotten.
Tamsin Hanke was awarded the Dissertation Medal for her work “Magnitogorsk: Utopian vision of spatial socialism.” The dissertation looks at the conception, realization and present state of the Russian city of Magnitogorsk as an experimental socialist utopia instigated by Joseph Stalin, asking how a political ideology of socialism was developed spatially in the city during the years 1930 to 1953. It seeks to determine how the current day city is both characterized by its past and how it is adapting to the social and political changes of Russia’s contemporary capitalist economy.
2013 judging panel
The judging panel included David Gloster, RIBA director of education; Ron Barr, RIBA VP elect of education; Elena Marco, associate head of architecture, University of West England; David Rieser, 2012 winner; Peter Bohm, Peter Bohm Architects; Vidhya Pushpanathan, 2012 winner; Satwinder Samra, senior lecturer of architecture, University of Sheffield; Alexandra Stara; reader in the history and theory of architecture, Kingston University; Will Hunter, deputy editor, Architectural Review; David Leatherbarrow, professor of architecture, University of Pennsylvania; and Peg Rawes, senior lecturer and associate director of research, Bartlett School of Architecture.