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Outstanding International Architecture

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Outstanding International Architecture

The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) has revealed the 16 winners of the RIBA International Awards for Excellence 2021.

The Awards, which take place every two years, recognise the most significant and inspirational projects around the world.

Projects need to exemplify design excellence and architectural ambition and deliver meaningful social impact.

The 16 award-winning buildings are spread across 11 countries.

This year’s projects range from significant cultural destinations such as Modern Art Museum and its Walkways in Shanghai to new city infrastructure such as the elegant Lille Langebro pedestrian and cycle bridge in the heart of Copenhagen.

They also include a beautiful artists’ home in Sri Lanka and a new hospital building in Bogotá that connects patients with nature.

Key trends illustrated by the International Awards for Excellence winners include:

*Buildings with multiple functions to benefit local communities

Examples include a modern family home, expanded to include an outreach and gathering space for the surrounding village, supporting both domestic and community use (Renovation of the Captain's House, Fujian Province, China) and a village community centre situated between the new and old village to encourage local interaction and provide space for public activities (Dongziguan Villagers’ Activity Centre, Hangzhou, China).

*Buildings that find solutions to pre-existing environmental issues

Examples include a community hospital in Bengal which features a series of courtyards to bring in light and cross ventilation with a canal feature traversing the site to collect usable rainwater and help micro-climatic cooling (Friendship Hospital, Satkhira, Bangladesh) and an art gallery raised more than a metre above ground level to allow for rising sea levels (the Polygon Gallery, North Vancouver, Canada).

*Buildings that are sensitive to historical context

Examples include America’s first memorial to the victims of racial terror lynchings (National Memorial for Peace and Justice, Alabama, USA), designed to honour, document and transform conversations around racial justice in the country and a new entrance building and visitor centre for the Unesco World Heritage Site of Museum Island in Berlin which engages honestly and directly with sensitive architectural and political territory (James-Simon-Galerie, Berlin, Germany).

RIBA President Alan Jones says: “The 2021 RIBA International Awards for Excellence are presented to an ambitious and diverse range of projects from a wide range of established and upcoming architects’ practices.

“It is particularly important to be considering excellence in architecture at this time - in this fast-changing world, where governments, clients and society need the skills and insight of architects.

“Our global awards show how well-considered, well-delivered and well-performing architecture has the immense potential to improve lives and communities. We are very pleased to be able to celebrate some of the most innovative, ingenious and impactful architecture in the world – designed by some of the most talented architects of our time.”

Among the 16 winning projects announced today, four projects will be shortlisted for this year’s prize and announced in September.