From the Pritzker Architecture Prize to the RIBA Stirling Prize. A roundup of projects and designers that won the most authoritative international awards
Innovation, sustainability and social and cultural impact. These are the drivers that have guided architectural projects built in 2023, guided by innovative principles and visions that look to the future, challenging conventions and laying the foundations for the future of this discipline.
Its value is recognized by the awards presented throughout the year, from the Pritzker Architecture Prize to the RIBA Stirling Prize, passing through the Leoni d’Oro of the 2023 Architecture Biennale. For those who missed them, here we tell you about the projects that received the most important accolades on the international architecture scene.
Kongjian Yu，Nanchang Fish Tall Park, China
Kongjian Yu, Benjakitti Forest Park, Bangkok
Kongjian Yu, Benjakitti Forest Park, Bangkok
Kongjian Yu, Red Ribbon Park, China
Kongjian Yu, Sanya Mangrove, Park, China
Oberlander Prize 2023
The Chinese architect and landscape designers Kongjian Yu is the winner of the 2023 edition of the Oberlander Prize, a biennial award created to commemorate the Canadian landscape architect Cornelia Hahn Oberlander, who passed away in 2021. The award amounts to $100,000 and two years involvement in state activities in support of the winner's work. Yu was selected by an international jury of seven, supported by Oberlander Prize curator John Beardsley, from more than 300 entries worldwide. Yu is known among other things for the “Sponge Cities” model, which addresses the problem of urban flooding, accelerated by climate crises, through large-scale nature-based infrastructure such as built wetlands, green paths, parks, tree and woodland protection, rain gardens, green roofs and permeable paving. Since it was adopted as a national policy in 2013, more than 70 Chinese cities have implemented this model, with the goal of 80% of cities being able to absorb 70% of rainfall by 2030.
David Chipperfield, Amorepacific Headquarters -Ph. Noshe
Pritzker Architecture Prize 2023
Considered the Nobel Prize for architecture, the Pritzker Prize is the highest global award for architecture and has been presented since 1979 by the Hyatt Foundation. The 2023 edition featured British architect David Chipperfield, the 52nd architect to be awarded the title. “I am so overwhelmed to receive this extraordinary honor and to be associated with the previous recipients who have all given so much inspiration to the profession,” he said. “I take this award as an encouragement to continue to direct my attention not only to the substance of architecture and its meaning but also to the contribution that we can make as architects to address the existential challenges of climate change and societal inequality.” The jury, chaired by 2016 Priztker Prize winner Alejandro Aravena, commented: “In a world where many architects see a commission as an opportunity to enrich their portfolio, he responds to each project with specific tools that he has selected with precision and great care. Sometimes it requires a strong and monumental gesture, while at other times it requires him to almost disappear. But his buildings will always stand the test of time, because the ultimate goal of his activity is to serve a greater good. The avoidance of what's fashionable has allowed him to remain permanent.”
Mæ, John Morden Centre - Ph. Jim Stephenson
RIBA (Royal Institute of British Architects) Stirling Prize 2023
The RIBA Stirling Prize is the most important and prestigious prize for architecture built in the United Kingdom and awarded annually by the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA). The 2023 edition consecrated the John Morden Centre project by Mæ as the winner: a day care center in London located in the Blackheath district. The building consists of a series of pavilions with red brick facades housing welfare and social spaces, united by a central cloister enhanced by greenery. The roof is clad in zinc and the tall chimneys echo those of its 17th-century neighbors. Ellen van Loon, jury chair, said. “It sensitively and seamlessly integrates medical facilities and social spaces, delivering a bold and hopeful model for the design of health and care centers for the elderly. Creating an environment that lifts the spirits and fosters community is evident at every turn and in every detail. This building provides comfort and warmth, with thoughtful features designed to prevent isolation. It illustrates how buildings can themselves be therapeutic – supporting care and instilling a sense of belonging.”
Yasmeen Lari, rifugio di emergenza
Royal Gold Medal 2023
The Royal Institute of British Architects has awarded its Royal Gold Medal 2023 to the Pakistani architect Yasmeen Lari. She commented: “I was so surprised to hear this news and of course totally delighted! I never imagined that as I focus on my country's most marginalized people, venturing down uncharted vagabond pathways, I could still be considered for the highest of honors in the architectural profession.” The recognition comes after a career of commitment to issues of social and ecological justice issues, with a concern for the marginalized sections of society, a focus on women's rights and working according to a zero carbon footprint.
I Leoni d’Oro della Biennale Architettura 2023
This year's international award for the best National Participation was presented to the Brazilian Pavilion in a ceremony at Ca' Giustinian, the headquarters of the Venice Biennale. The decision was made by the international jury of the 18th International Architecture Exhibition of the Venice Biennale, comprising of Ippolito Pestellini Laparelli (president, Italy); Nora Akawi (Palestine); Thelma Golden (USA); Tau Tavengwa (Zimbabwe); Izabela Wieczorek (Poland). The Leone d’Oro for the best participant in the exhibition The Laboratory of the Future went to DAAR – Alessandro Petti and Sandi Hilal “for their long-standing commitment to deep political engagement with architectural practices and learning about decolonization in Palestine and Europe.” In addition, Demas Nwoko, a Nigerian artist, designer and architect, was awarded the Leone d’Oro for lifetime achievement at the 18th International Architecture Exhibition.
Shane de Blacam, Town Library-Ph. Peter Cook
Royal Academy Architecture Prize 2023
Ireland's Shane de Blacam is the winner of the Royal Academy Architecture Prize 2023, devoted to architectural projects that make a positive impact on society. The jury was won over by the architect's ability to create communal spaces, his remarkable craftsmanship and attention to detail. Born in 1945, De Blacam co-founded the de Blacam and Meagher architecture firm in 1976 together with John Meagher, focusing on the use of local materials and creating comfortable spaces for people. Throughout his career, he has been involved in designing spaces to bring people together, including the sensitively restored library at Abbeyleix in County Laois, Ireland, and the elegant Samuel Beckett Theatre at Trinity College Dublin.