Out of three projects, selected from 16 finalists in 11 countries, one will be awarded the RIBA International Prize in early 2022.
The awards are organized every two years by the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) of the United Kingdom.
Announcing the shortlist Tuesday, the organization’s president, Simon Allford, said in a press statement that the three projects demonstrate “a sensitivity to the surrounding environment and local culture, design comprehensive and sustainable solutions.”
Friendship Hospital, also pictured above, was built with cheap local bricks. Credit: Asif Salman / Courtesy of Urbana
Friendship Hospital in Satkhira, southwestern Bangladesh, is the only building outside of Europe. Built from locally produced bricks, the 80-bed community facility is arranged around a series of shaded courtyards. An angled aqueduct cuts through the center of the property, separating the hospital’s inpatient and outpatient wings.
RIBA commended the project for harmonizing with the surrounding countryside, adding that the design was intended to counter the threat of rising water levels in the storm-prone area. Eco-friendly design features include a rainwater collection tank and wall openings for natural ventilation.
“What a wonderful moment that an important recognition like this helps draw attention to a remote corner of our incredibly connected yet unknown world, to a project was born from scarce resources, for the care of the people and the community is destined to inhabit the “fragile environment of a changing climate”, architect Kashef Chowdhury, whose firm is Dhaka-based Urbana designed the project, said in a press release.
Lille Langebro, a bridge in Copenhagen, is among three finalists for the 2021 RIBA International Awards. Credit: Rasmus Hjortshøj
Elsewhere on the shortlist is Lille Langebro, an arched bridge in Copenhagen designed by WilkinsonEyre with the Metropolitan Authority. The 525-foot structure extends across the central harbor of the Danish capital, providing pedestrians and cyclists with a vehicle-free alternative to a parallel road bridge.
Highlighting the project’s “light and slender visual structure”, RIBA also draws attention to the technique hidden within the flowing design: As larger boats need to pass through, the two central sections of the design. the bridge will rotate suddenly to form an opening.
The third project to be shortlisted is James-Simon-Galerie, an art gallery that serves as the entrance and visitor center for Berlin’s Museum Island, a massive cultural complex on Spree River. Designed by David Chipperfield Architects, the long-awaited building opened in 2019, two decades after it was first proposed.
James-Simon-Galerie, on Berlin’s Historical Museum Island. Credit: Simon Menges
Built on a narrow strip of land on the historic island, this sleek design offers a contemporary contrast to its considerably older neighbours. RIBA praised the way the project “blends Neoclassicism with modernity.”
The organization wrote in a press release: “The entrance resembles a command shrine, the colonnade surrounds the building and projects out into the city, and the lofty interior lobby space has a scale and monumental,” the organization wrote in a press release.
Allford says that all three projects are “united by the human experience at their heart.” The award jury consists of experts from Europe, America, Asia and South America, chaired by French architect and urban planner Odile Decq.