There’s a new prize in town: RIBA launches International Prize for the “world’s best new building”

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Herzog & de Meuron won the 2015 RIBA Charles Jencks Award, an annual prize named for British architect and critic Charles Jencks that recognizes “major international contributions to the theory and practice of architecture.” Pictured here: the Beijing National Stadium (Courtesy Herzog & de Meuron)

Herzog & de Meuron won the 2015 RIBA Charles Jencks Award, an annual prize named for British architect and critic Charles Jencks that recognizes “major international contributions to the theory and practice of architecture.” Pictured here: the Beijing National Stadium (Courtesy Herzog & de Meuron)

The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) announced a new prize at a ceremony in London today. The RIBA International Prize will go to the “world’s best new building.” The selection criteria are broad: the building can be “of any type or budget and in any country, which exemplifies design excellence, architectural ambition and which delivers meaningful social impact.” This is the first RIBA award open to non-RIBA members.

Burntwood School, in London, designed by Allford Hall Monaghan Morris (AHMM). The building won the 2015 RIBA Stirling Prize (Courtesy RIBA)

Burntwood School, in London, designed by Allford Hall Monaghan Morris (AHMM). The building won the 2015 RIBA Stirling Prize (Courtesy RIBA)

1985 RIBA Gold Medal winner Richard Rogers will lead the judges’ panel. “I’m delighted to lead the jury for the inaugural RIBA International Prize,” Rogers declared in a statement. “[I] look forward to discovering how architecture is reacting to and resolving issues posed by the changing demands of a global community. We look forward to establishing the RIBA International Prize as a new standard by which to assess and promote design excellence on a global scale.”

He will be joined by Kunlé Adeyemi, director of Amsterdam- and Lagos-based NLÉ Projects, as well as Philip Gumuchdjian, director of London-based Gumuchdjian Architects. Other members of the jury will be announced “in due course.”

The call for entries is now open, and any architect may apply. To be considered, buildings must have been built in the last three years (between January 1, 2013 and February 1, 2016). After the inaugural year, the prize will be given to buildings completed within the past two years.

To winnow down finalists, shortlisted buildings (themselves winners of the RIBA Awards for International Excellence) will be visited twice by two panels of jurors. The “grand jury” will select six final buildings for a third round visit to pick the winner.

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