Three projects which are very different in terms of function, location and materials have been selected as the finalists for the RIBA International Prize 2021, the prestigious biennial award presented by the Royal Institute of British Architects to built projects all over the world which stand out for the excellence of their design and for their social impact on the communities they serve. These features are ideally reflected in the three finalists of the 2021 edition, announced on November 16 by RIBA president Simon Allford upon the conclusion of a rigorous process of analysis and selection from a list of 16 outstanding projects built in 11 countries all over the world.
Let us take a look at the three projects, in alphabetical order.
Friendship Hospital in Satkhira, a rural part of southwestern Bangladesh, designed by architect Kashef Chowdhury/URBANA is a hospital for treating the local community in a difficult, fragile area where buildings must be capable of withstanding the ravages caused by climate change. Architect Kashef Chowdhury and his studio URBANA created a low-cost building constructed out of readily available local materials such as brick. Friendship Hospital is a building capable of blending into the landscape around it and withstanding rising water levels. The building’s layout and the arrangement of the spaces around inner courtyards brings natural light and ventilation into all the spaces. The canal running right across the hospital site divides the spaces for inpatients from outpatient areas while preserving a valuable resource of great importance for the area, rainwater.
Another of the RIBA International Prize 2021 finalists is built on one of the world’s most important cultural heritage sites: James Simon Galerie designed by David Chipperfield Architects in Berlin, a building which took twenty years to complete, housing the new visitor centre and entrance to the German city’s Museum Island. This classically inspired new public space provides access to a cultural site recognised as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The third and last finalist, in alphabetical order, is the new Lille Langebro cycling and pedestrian bridge designed by WilkinsonEyre and Urban Agency in Copenhagen, Denmark, an innovative structure standing elegantly alongside the high-traffic Langebro bridge and fitting into its surroundings with a gentle curve. The new bridge revitalises the port of Copenhagen, offering a safe crossing-place for the local citizens and tourists who cross the canal joining the city centre to the historic Christianshavn district every day.
The winner of the RIBA International Prize 2021 will be announced early in 2022, along with the winner of the RIBA International Emerging Architect Prize for future talents in architecture. The decision will be made by a distinguished Grand Jury chaired by architect Odile Decq and including: Es Devlin OBE, British artist and designer, Jeanne Gang, American architect and founder of Studio Gang, Rossana Hu, architect and founding member of Neri&Hu, and Brazilian architect Gustavo Utrabo, winner of the RIBA International Prize and the Emerging Architect Prize 2018.
Images courtesy of RIBA and architects
Project Name: Friendship Hospital
Location: Satkhira, Bangladesh,
Architects: Kashef Chowdhury/URBANA
Photos: Asif Salman Courtesy of URBANA (01-10)
Project Name: James Simon Galerie
Location: Berlin, Germany
Architects: David Chipperfield Architects Berlin
Photos: Simon Menges (11-13), Ute Zscharnt (14-20)
Project Name: Lille Langebro
Location: Copenhagen, Denmark
Architects: WilkinsonEyre and Urban Agency
Photos: Rasmus Hjortshøj (21-30)