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The Bartlett wins ALL three top honors at 2013 RIBA President’s Medals student awards
Posted: Thursday, December 05, 2013 |

London's The Bartlett School of Architecture scored big times at today's presentation of the 2013 RIBA President’s Medals Student Awards taking home all of the three top prizes.

The project "Kizhi Island" by Ben Hayes received the RIBA Silver Medal for this year's best post-graduate design work. Ness Lafoy was awarded the Bronze Medal for the best undergraduate design project with the project "Helsinki Archipelago Town Hall". The Dissertation Medal went to Tamsin Hanke's research project "Magnitogorsk: Utopian Vision Of Spatial Socialism".

Dating back to 1836, the prestigious President's Medals are awarded annually to students nominated by schools of architecture worldwide.

Read on to learn more about the three winning projects.

Silver Medal (for best post-graduate design work):

Click above image to view slideshow
Silver Medal (for best post-graduate design work): "Kizhi Island" by Ben Hayes

Silver Medal: "Kizhi Island" by Ben Hayes
University College London, The Bartlett School of Architecture
Tutors: Dr Yeoryia Manolopoulou, Niall McLaughlin, Michiko Sumi

"This proposal is for a museum landscape that will facilitate the restoration and reassembly of 250 wooden Orthodox churches onto Kizhi Island in Northern Russia."

Silver Medal (for best post-graduate design work):

Click above image to view slideshow
Silver Medal (for best post-graduate design work): "Kizhi Island" by Ben Hayes

"These fragile, desecrated structures have a spiritual presence that commands respect, however, in the next 10-15 years these wooden monuments will almost totally disappear. The churches were once central to their communities, just as the Orthodox faith was central to the people, they speak of the inner lives of the people in this place. This lyrical proposal explores in depth the changing relationship between the Russian landscape and national identity, tracing back the influence of Romanticism at the start of the nineteenth century and looking at the wide scale impact of Soviet collectivisation and de-ruralisation."

Silver Medal (for best post-graduate design work):

Click above image to view slideshow
Silver Medal (for best post-graduate design work): "Kizhi Island" by Ben Hayes

"This project challenges the programme of the existing museum on Kizhi Island and considers a more ambitious architectural intervention, radically expanding it to include all 250 wooden churches. I propose a new restoration facility and museum to facilitate the dismantling of the church monuments from their original location, their transportation to Kizhi via shipping, their restoration and open-air curation across the whole island. The facility will contain temporary and permanent structures for research, storage, preservation and exhibition of each church that has been relocated. The project addresses two problems: it protects and restores this fragile heritage, that today is on the verge of total extinction, and it dramatically redesigns the visitor experience on the island."

Silver Medal (for best post-graduate design work):

Click above image to view slideshow
Silver Medal (for best post-graduate design work): "Kizhi Island" by Ben Hayes

"The intervention adopts an approach to the island’s landscape: the whole island is treated as a repository of protected buildings that is constantly transforming, thus challenging existing notions of preservation and heritage. The new formation of this landscape will be the impetus for the comprehensive study of the buildings and amassing data connected to them. The project is an earnest call for the protection and celebration of this most fragile part of the cultural heritage of Russia."

Bronze Medal: "Helsinki Archipelago Town Hall" by Ness Lafoy
University College London, The Bartlett School of Architecture
Tutors: Ben Addy, Rhys Cannon

"The Archipelago around Helsinki is dotted with tiny pine covered islands, many inhabited by just one or two households. Altogether there are 455 islands in the Finnish Archipelago, which are home to over 50,000 people."

Bronze Medal (for best undergraduate design project):

Click above image to view slideshow
Bronze Medal (for best undergraduate design project): "Helsinki Archipelago Town Hall" by Ness Lafoy

"Most of the inhabitants live without transport links to the mainland and many islands lack telephone lines or internet connection. Therefore in recent years there has been an influx of islanders moving back to the mainland. The Helsinki Archipelago Town Hall aims to become a mainland hub for islanders, providing a warm clubhouse and accommodation for overnight trips to Helsinki. It also aims to improve 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 on to ensure it is not forgotten."

Bronze Medal (for best undergraduate design project):

Click above image to view slideshow
Bronze Medal (for best undergraduate design project): "Helsinki Archipelago Town Hall" by Ness Lafoy

"Many of the homes found in the Finnish Archipelago are traditional Finnish farm houses, which are typically timber framed, pitched roof dwellings often clad in painted wooden slats and shingles. The houses are built around a central double height space known as the Tupa. The Tupa is generally dominated by a large fireplace and is the centre of a traditional Finnish Farmhouse. The double height, warm, communal space created by a Tupa and the fractured landscape around Helsinki are driving forces in the design of the Archipelago Town Hall."

Bronze Medal (for best undergraduate design project):

Click above image to view slideshow
Bronze Medal (for best undergraduate design project): "Helsinki Archipelago Town Hall" by Ness Lafoy

"The town hall spreads itself out across Helsinki Central Harbour, mimicking the fractured landscape of the Archipelago. The main clubhouse and sorting office building sits on the harbour’s edge and platforms extend into the bay providing additional public space in the harbour. These platforms can be used for cultural and political events run by the Island Council and by the City of Helsinki. The floating accommodation units are positioned around these platforms and are accessed via floating pontoons. At the furthest point lies the Council Chamber, which looks out to the mouth of the harbour and towards the Archipelago."

Dissertation Medal: "Magnitogorsk: Utopian Vision Of Spatial Socialism" by Tamsin Hanke
University College London, The Bartlett School of Architecture
Tutor: Sophia Psarra

"In the first of his Five year plans, Joseph Stalin set out his ambitions for the industrialisation of Russia, changing the economy from agrarian to one based on mechanisation and industrial processing. This involved the creation of new settlements, based around a single economic activity in previously uninhabited locations. The most significant of these is Magnitogorsk, a city on the extreme south of the eastern face of the Ural mountain range."

Dissertation Medal:

Click above image to view slideshow
Dissertation Medal: "Magnitogorsk: Utopian Vision Of Spatial Socialism" by Tamsin Hanke

"The dissertation looks at the conception, realization and present state of this city as an experimental socialist utopia, asking how a political ideology of socialism was developed spatially in the city during the years 1930 to 1953. Furthermore, it seeks to determine how the current day city is both characterised by its past and how it is adapting to the social and political changes of Russia’s contemporary capitalist economy."

Dissertation Medal:

Click above image to view slideshow
Dissertation Medal: "Magnitogorsk: Utopian Vision Of Spatial Socialism" by Tamsin Hanke

"The dissertation presents evidence to suggest that the architects of the city continued a historic typology of industrial urbanism which was preoccupied with the production of labour through an efficient division of society. As a result ideology was spatially imposed on the new community, aiming to alter the fundamental structure of social classes through their interpersonal relationships. The study argues that a particular urban form, characterised by its scale, geometric rigidity and persistent enclosure was used to create a new, alienated working class. As a result of such formal specificity, the study analyses the presence of this in the modern city, arguing that both the spatial precedent and social legacy remains in Magnitogorsk today. With this in mind, it looks at the theoretical foundations by which to reconsider the future of the city through a discussion on ideology and utopia, aiming to find the relevance of these terms in a contemporary framework."

Dissertation Medal:

Click above image to view slideshow
Dissertation Medal: "Magnitogorsk: Utopian Vision Of Spatial Socialism" by Tamsin Hanke

"Despite the enormous crisis posed to today’s Russia by its ailing monocities, Magnitogorsk remains largely unexamined since it was reopened to visitors after having been closed to protect military secrets from 1932 to 1987. The dissertation aims to reopen a conversation relevant to the current political and economic state of the country in its contemporary transition from centralised communism to a western model of neoliberal capitalism."

To see the complete list of this year's winning projects, including Commendations, click here.

All images via the RIBA President’s Medals.



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