RIBA announce winner of Research Medal Design Competition – Josh

The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) is delighted to announce medal maker Nicola Moss and architect/artist Simon Beeson as winners of the Research Medal Design Competition.

Having caught the imagination of the judging panel with their submission – ‘Earth and Sky’ – Nicola and Simon will now set to work producing the medal in partnership with a casting firm, before presentation to the medal winner of the President’s Awards for Research on 2 December 2015 at 66 Portland Place. The winner of the President’s Awards for Research will be announced on 13 November 2015.

RIBA President, and Chair of the Judging Panel, Jane Duncan said:

“Nicola and Simon have produced a stunning design that illustrates our rich tradition of medal design and awarding medals. It feels both appropriate and contemporary, whilst highlighting the expansive future possibilities of architectural research. The unique combination of architect, academic and medallist in their partnership made for a subtle yet arresting response to the brief. The approach from all six shortlisted entries has shown the hallmarks of excellent contemporary medal design, and I thank all of those who entered.”

The competition was judged by a panel including RIBA President, Jane Duncan, RIBA Immediate Past President, Stephen Hodder; Philip Attwood, Keeper of Coins and Medals at the British Museum and President of the British Art Medal Society; and Charles Hind, RIBA Chief Curator and H J Heinz Curator of Drawings.

Speaking about today’s announcement, Nicola Moss and Simon Beeson said:

“We are delighted to be offered this challenge to create a contemporary medal for architectural research, in collaboration as artist and architect.”

Nicola Moss is an established medal maker, whose work includes medals for the British Art Medal Society (George and the Dragon 1986, Mamoo 2008), St. Dunstan Millennium Medal (The Worshipful Company of Goldsmiths, 1988), Turtle Island Medal (Special Award, College of Architecture and Landscape Architecture University of Minnesota, 1991 – cast bronze on ribbon, with box), and the Ondaatje Prize for Portraiture, (The Royal Society of Portrait Painters, 2000). Her work is found in collections internationally, including Department of Coins and Medals, British Museum, V&A, The National Museum of Scotland, Smithsonian Institute (Washington DC, USA) and Munzkainett, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin.

Simon Beeson is an architect, public artist and sculptor and is currently the Principal Lecturer & BA (Hons) Course Leader for Architecture at Arts University Bournemouth. His medallic work includes Linlithgow Threshold (2002) commissioned the British Art Medal Society. He has created collaborative medallic works with Nicola Moss, notably Ice Fishing (1993) and Grain Elevator (1995). In 1997 he designed the Simmons Gallery for coins and medals in Lambs Conduit Street, London. Recent plaster reliefs and sculptures were exhibited as part of Building Walden, ArtSway 2014.

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Notes to editors

1. For more information members of the press should contact: Gagandeep Bedi, Press Officer, RIBA: 020 7307 3814. Non press queries should be sent to

2. The RIBA President’s Awards for Research promote research – and researchers – that contribute new knowledge and understanding to architecture and the practice of architecture. They highlight the need for the insight that nurtures innovation, quality, value and strategic thinking in the practice of architecture.

3. An image of the medal will be released on November 13, with an online image gallery of all shortlisted submissions to follow shortly.

4. Nicola Moss and Simon Beeson included the following explanation as part of their submission;

‘The obverse is an idea of architectural research and the reverse is an interpretation of the RIBA crest. The composition of the two sides of the medal begins with an act of division.

‘The dividing line of the obverse creates a horizon, representing the limits of knowing, but setting a boundary to inspire beyond. The reverse is divided vertically, establishing the axis mundi, the centre of the world. It also represents claiming our place in the wilderness as the first act of architecture; dividing space, with wall or column.

‘The two forces of light and shadow are here formally anchored in the earth and the sky. While the labyrinth is anchored to the hill, the horizon is drawn as a sharp line, representing both our perception of the world as we experience it and the abstract first line drawn on a plan or section, or the eye-level of our abstracted perspective.

‘Above the earth is the dome of the sky, described beautifully by the curve of the medal. And arching down from the sky is the sun’s light, illuminating the earth below. The space between the earth and sky becomes the domain we inhabit, the phenomenological origin of architecture. This space between earth and sky is co-incidentally shaped like the Labrys, the double-headed axe of Minoan Crete, after which the Labyrinth is named.’

5. Further information and full Competition guidelines are available at

6. The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) champions better buildings, communities and the environment through architecture and our members

7. Follow us on Twitter for regular RIBA updates @RIBA
Posted on Wednesday 7th October 2015

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