The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) has named Friendship Hospital by Kashef Chowdhury/URBANA as winner of the RIBA International Prize 2021, and Hooba Design Group as winner of the RIBA International Emerging Architect 2021 prize.
Social commitment and innovation, sustainability and collaboration are all protagonist of the 2021 edition of the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) Awards. This prestigious biennial award has been celebrating quality projects for over 50 years, with submissions coming from offices spread throughout the world and demonstrating design excellence and social impact.
This year’s international prizes included a sustainable and low-cost hospital in south-west Bangladesh as recipient of the RIBA International Prize 2021, and an Iranian design collective winning as RIBA International Emerging Architect 2021.
The former was judged by a distinguished Grand Jury chaired by French architect and urban planner Odile Decq, with Es Devlin, Jeanne Gang, Rossana Hu and Gustavo Utrabo as jury members; and it was selected as winner from a selection of three outstanding shortlisted entries which included Lille Langebro in Copenhagen by WilkinsonEyre with Urban Agency and James-Simon-Galerie in Berlin by David Chipperfield Architects Berlin.
The International Prize winner, named Friendship Hospital after the NGO client, is a remote community hospital set in the water-laden landscape of the Bengal and crafted in local brickwork, designed by Bangladeshi architect Kashef Chowdhury/URBANA. Lauded for the care and humanity at the heart of its design, the building responds innovatively to the challenging environmental conditions of the Bengal and provides a medical lifeline for the people living in an area affected by a major cyclone in 2007. The design scheme is based on a rainwater-collection system that features a newly built tank – an essential resource and tool to prevent water logging – and on a set of intimate courtyards to bring light and natural ventilation to the wards.
When motivating the choice to award this prize, Chair of the RIBA International Prize Grand Jury Odile Decq says: “The hospital is relevant to critical global challenges, such as unequal access to healthcare and the crushing impact of climate breakdown on vulnerable communities”.
Architect Kashef Chowdhury is certain that by choosing his project as RIBA International Prize winner, it “may inspire more of us to commit, not in spite of, but because of limitations of resources and means, to an architecture of care both for humanity and for nature, to rise collectively to the urgencies that we face today on a planetary scale”.
The International Emerging Architect prize, on the other hand, celebrates the design innovators of tomorrow, and this year it is awarded to Hooba Design Group for the Kohan Ceram Central Office Building in Tehran, Iran. This edifice features an interior and exterior structure manufactured in perforated brick, which was manufactured by Kohan Ceram factory and produced in three different forms with glass, filled, or empty to regulate the building’s temperature and light supply and create an exterior spectacle of light at night. Additionally, vegetation planted within voids inside the building filters the polluted air from the main road. According to Denise Bennetts, Chair of the RIBA Awards Group, the “uplifting and inspiring design” of the building and the firm’s “collaborative approach to innovation” are the reason why this prize was awarded to Hooba Design Group.
Location: Shyamnagar, Bangladesh
Completion: April 2018
Client: Friendship NGO
Internal area: 4,777 m²
Architect: Kashef Chowdhury/URBANA
Structural Engineers: Descon Engineers
Electrical Engineer: Independent
Plumbing Design: M/S High Speed Engineers
Sewage Treatment: Sigma Engineers
Photography by Asif Salman, courtesy of URBANA
Kohan Ceram Central Office Building
Location: Teheran, Iran
Completion: July 2019
Client: Kohan Ceram
Internal area: 1,019 m²
Architect: Hooba Design Group
Lighting Design FADco
Photography by Deed Studio / Parham Taghioff, courtesy of Hooba Design