2018 RIBA international prize
Image: Harunori Noda

The 2018 RIBA International Prize shortlist has just been announced. Among the four finalists are a university in Hungary, accommodation for children in Brazil, a music school in Japan and an apartment tower in Italy.

The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) founded the International Prize in 2016 and it’s awarded every two years. The objective of the prize is to bring “international attention to the most inspirational and significant new buildings across the globe but also to a range of the industry’s leading talents.”

This year’s prize, which is open to any qualified architect from around the world, has a special emphasis on design excellence, ambition and social impact. This is mandate is notable in the finalists, three of which are places of learning and one that is essentially a vertical forest.

Here’s a closer look at the 2018 RIBA International Prize shortlist:

Central European University – Phase 1

This project by O’Donnell + Tuomey is an ambitious union of new and refurbished buildings for the university in Budapest. As part of a World Heritage site, the architects were sensitive to the city’s vernacular as well as contracting local artisans and using indigenous materials. While the lower three levels are open to the public, the upper levels provide a series of interconnected spaces and study spaces for students. A four-storey library with a glass tops off the new build.

RIBA International Prize
The spectacular four-storey library. Image: Tamás Bujnovszky

Children’s Village

Rosenbaum + Aleph Zero’s Children’s Village provides accommodation for 540 senior school children from disadvantaged backgrounds. The site is a rural farm owned by the foundation that provides the children’s accommodation as well as accommodation for farm workers and teachers. Six-bed dormitories are on the ground floor, while the upper level covered by a open slanted roof provides more accommodation and an expansive open area for recreational activities and walkways.

2018 RIBA International Prize
Image: Leonardo Finotti

Toho Gakuen School of Music

Architecture firm Nikken Sekkei responded to the brief for a new music school by carefully researching what amount of space was optimal for each instrument. The music rooms are arranged on the first floor in a ‘village’ of sorts with spaces in-between to allow for acoustic isolation, but not visual isolation – the rooms are also partially glazed, which allows sounds to be heard in the connecting walkways but not in the other rooms.

2018 riba international prize
Image: Harunori Noda

Bosco Verticale

Bosco Vertical, a high-rise apartment block in fashionable Milan, is encased in 17,000 trees, shrubs and plants. It took years of vigorous testing to determine which plants would be best suited to the climatic conditions of this build; this included wind tunnel testing. The result is an urban forest contributing to the regeneration of bio-diversity in the dense city.

2018 RIBA international prize
‘Bosco Vertical’ directly translates to Vertical Forest. Image: Paulo Rosselli

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