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Key details


  • 15 December 2023


  • RCA

Read time

  • 3 minutes

Poems from the Patient Patient | finding Amor Fati by Chloe Shang and Folgelandschaft by Zibo Zhang, both from the MA Architecture 2023 programme, were honoured at the 2023 RIBA President's Medals Awards Ceremony on the evening of 14 December 2023.

Poems from the Patient Patient | finding Amor Fati by Chloe Shang

Poems from the Patient Patient | finding Amor Fati by Chloe Shang is the winner of this year’s RIBA Dissertation Medal. The medal is awarded annually to the best dissertation produced by a student or group of students as part of a RIBA Part 1 or Part 2 qualification. Chloe is the first RCA student to win the RIBA Dissertation Medal.

Chloe Shang

Chloe Shang: 'This drawing references Gandy’s 1830 composition of the relationships between architectural languages. It describes the regression of hospital architecture from the sacred temples of Antiquity, to the modernist ‘poverty of experience’. From bottom to top: Asclepieion at Epidaurus, 6th Century BC; Hospices des Beaune, 1443; Ospedale degli Innocenti, 1419; St Thomas’ Pavilion, 1859; Paimio Sanatorium, 1932; Guy’s Tower Block, 1974; Guy’s Cancer Centre, 2016.

The dissertation may be read as a journal and guide towards catharsis. Drawing upon methodologies grounded in writing, testimony, historical and spatial analysis, and socio-political critique, I explore firstly the agency of writing as a method of healing and, secondly, the inequalities, contradictions and opportunities facing the contemporary health system. The architecture of health has such a powerful yet unrealised opportunity to inspire hope and healing when we need them most; I hope that my work may continue to challenge perceptions, and instil enthusiasm, in its future evolution.'

“I am so delighted and honoured to receive this year’s RIBA Dissertation Medal. I want to say the biggest thank-you to my tutors at the RCA, and to share the joy of this recognition with all those who supported and encouraged the development of this work.”

Chloe Shang

Folgelandschaft by Zibo Zhang

Folgelandschaft by Zibo Zhang has been awarded a Commendation in the Serjeant Award for Excellence in Architectural Drawing category at Part 2. The award is selected from within the entries submitted annually for the RIBA Silver Medal and is awarded in memory of the late architect and Royal Academy surveyor Denis Serjeant who in 1981 was one of the founding members of the RIBA Student Prizes Group.

Folgelandschaft by Zibo Zhang

Zibo Zhang: ‘This project explores the potential of architecture beyond its conventional scope, bridging extreme timeframes and scales to propose a new way of reclaiming open-pit coal mines. ‘Folgelandschaft’, which translates from German to ‘afterlandscape’, describes the type of land formed once an open-pit coal mine is decommissioned. This proposal reimagines a new afterlandscape for Europe's largest open-pit coal mine in Hambach, Germany, through a form of empathetic care and repair.

The intervention retains the existing infrastructures of extraction and recalibrates them into tools of reconstruction that delicately reshuffle gargantuan amounts of sand to stop the mine’s inevitable subsidence. This process gradually changes the mine’s image and purpose, creating an artificial ground formation that can be incrementally inhabited by animals, plants, humans and machines. Eventually, in a few decades or perhaps centuries, these continuous processes, spaces and ground formations will have taken over the open-pit coal mine - forming a new type of afterlandscape.’

“I am extremely honoured to have received this commendation from the RIBA and would like to thank my tutors John, Zsuzsa and James, as well as the MA Architecture team for their support and guidance throughout my two years at the RCA.”

Zibo Zhang

RIBA London Student Awards 2023 winners

The winners of the RIBA London Student Awards for 2023, which aim to promote excellence and reward talent in the study and education of architecture, have also been announced recently. Open to those studying architecture at eleven universities and colleges in London and judged by five RIBA London Architects Groups, two current MA Architecture students at the RCA were selected for awards: Seunghyun Yoo and Temi Ajayi.

Seunghyun Yoo, winner of RIBA West London Student of the Year

The project involves the reworking of the Korean Workers Party Headquarters – the only North Korean building that still exists in South Korea. The scheme is developed across the site masterplan, with a series of interspersed structures that document aspects of the history of the Korean War and routes taken by defectors from North Korea. The design recreates versions of the existing building in six different materials – mesh, hedge, concrete, wood, latex, and stone, with each intervention housing different programmatic elements.


Temi Ajayi, winner of Vandersanden Diversity and Inclusion Award

'Defying Apheresis: A Litany for a Black Caring Society,' consists of a series of prefabricated sonic structures forming an immersive sound trail through Ladywell Fields - sited in conversation with University Lewisham Hospital and St Mary’s Therapeutic Gardens, in South London. The project is deeply rooted in the historical and social narratives surrounding blood as a racial marker and its impact on the black community within the context of healthcare, particularly those affected by sickle cell disorder.

AJAYI Temilayo

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Working on a piece in the School of Architecture Studios (photo: Richard Haughton)