RIBA announces President's Awards for Research 2014 winners

The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) has announced the winners of the President’s Awards for Research 2014. The awards promote and champion high-quality research and encourage its dissemination to the profession; they raise the profile of architects and academics engaged in research, and highlight the need for research across the profession to nurture innovation and strategic thinking. The winners of the President’s Awards for Research 2014 are:

RIBA President’s Award for the Outstanding Master’s Degree Thesis

  • Winner: Stephen Gage, University of Cambridge for ‘Repurposed Pasts? Architecture and Identity in the Gothic Revival University’

A difficult subject, tackled very well, with an interesting approach and findings.  The judges thought the thesis extremely rigorous – noting in particular the author’s particular ability in investigating parameters – and significant.  They also noted the very fine drawings that supported the author’s analysis.

RIBA President’s Award for the Outstanding PhD Thesis

While no Award was given in this category, two PhD’s were worthy of commendation.

  • Commendation: Emma Cheatle, Bartlett School of Architecture, University College London for ‘Part-architecture: the Maison de Verre through the Large Glass’

A sophisticated PhD with significant attention to detail and reflection.  The judges found the historical aspect interesting and the descriptions of buildings enlightening and original.  The judges were happy to commend the work as the author’s analytical approach was strong and rational.

  • Commendation: Tom Bridgen, University of Newcastle for ‘The Protected Vista: An Intellectual and Cultural History, As Seen from Richmond Hill’

Original research drawing on both historical and contemporary sources, the thesis was well-research and presented, and explored important ideas in an area lacking in precedent.  The judges thought that this ambitious PhD was deserving of a commendation.

RIBA President’s Award for Outstanding University-led research

  • Winner: Barbara Penner, Bartlett School of Architecture, University College London for ‘Bathroom’

The judges applauded this outstanding work for tackling an often overlooked area. In covering various points of view, including design and politics, the judges considered the research to be a good polemic with just the right amount of provocation for readers. The author’s passion for the subject made the work all the more interesting.

  • Commendation: Adam Sharr, University of Newcastle and Stephen Thornton, University of Cardiff for ‘Demolishing Whitehall: Leslie Martin, Harold Wilson and the Architecture of White Heat’

A book on an interesting topic, rigorously researched, that made for a fascinating read. The judges felt that the authors had generally done an excellent job in writing a very readable book on architectural politics and that it was worthy of a commendation.

  • Commendation: Ben Campkin, Bartlett School of Architecture, University College London for ‘Remaking London: Decline and Regeneration in Urban Culture’

The clear structure and accessible writing made this fascinating piece of work deserving of a commendation. The judges applauded the effort required to tackle such an expansive subject, breaking into areas about which not enough has been written previously.

RIBA President’s Award for Outstanding Practice-led research

Nowinner was given in this category, one project was worthy of commendation.

  • Commendation: Robert Barker and Richard Coutts, Baca Architectsfor ‘The Climate Adaptive Neighbourhoods (CAN) Project’

This detailed analysis of the East Norwich housing that was a case study in the practice’s Lifeproject research resulted in findings that are pertinent and applicable to future housing developments on flood-prone sites. The judges felt this excellent research worthy of a commendation.

RIBA President Stephen Hodder said:

“The RIBA’s commitment to the advancement of architecture is inextricably linked to the acquirement of knowledge through new research. I’m delighted to put my name to these awards which celebrate the latest research innovation in our profession which will inform and challenge how we work in the future. Well done to all the winners.” 

Chair of the Judging Panel Professor Ruth Morrow, of Queen’s University Belfast, said:

“Reaching a decision about winners for the RIBA President’s Awards for Research is always an exciting and challenging process. We were pleased to have such a diverse range of work to choose from – leading to some passionate and lengthy discussions at the final judging meeting. While the range of research was stimulating, we were disappointed that there were not more entries and shortlisted pieces from outside London, and hope that next year, in the 10th anniversary year of the awards, that more universities and practices from across the nations and regions will submit entries.”


Notes to editors

  1. For press information contact Howard Crosskey in the RIBA Press Office: 020 7307 3761
  2. To download a selection of images from the shortlist please visit:
  3. Research queries about the awards should be sent to email  
  4. The RIBA President’s Awards for Research were established in order to reward and encourage outstanding research in architecture carried out by students, academics and practitioners
  5. The awards are given in four categories: Master’s, PhD, university and practice-located research
  6. The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) champions better buildings, communities and the environment through architecture and our members. Visit and follow us at   
  7. The judging panel for the Awards are appointed by the RIBA expert member group the Research and Innovation Group, on behalf of the President.  RIBA staff provide administrative support to the panel, but do not take part in the judging itself.  Peter Gibbs-Kennet acts as independent observer at judging meetings, in particular to ensure conflict of interest procedures are adhered to.


Posted on Thursday 6th November 2014

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