Neave Brown is the winner of the Royal Gold Medal 2018, the most important UK award for architecture, given by the RIBA in the name of the queen.
The Royal Gold Medal, is not an award for a single work of architecture, but given for "a lifetime’s work". It is therefore an expression of the direct or indirect influence that the architect’s overall activity has had on the profession.
With great international attention being given to the problem of social housing and as we have already seen theEuropean Union Prize for Contemporary Architecture being awarded to collective housing projects, it is no surprise that this prestigious award has also gone to an architect famous for his pioneering ideas in social housing.
The Alexandra Road and Fleet Road’s estates are certainly Neave Brown’s most famous projects, created in the 1970s to offer a valid alternative to tower block housing. Inspired by the shapes and terraces of ziggurats, the estates designed by Neave Brown are still densely inhabited but have lower buildings, flats made for families that are light and airy and, therefore, offer better living conditions for the inhabitants.
The last two editions of the Royal Gold Medal have seen awards go to Paulo Mendes da Rocha (2017) and Zaha Hadid (2016).
Images courtesy of RIBA - Royal Institute of British Architects www.architecture.com