The Royal Institute of British Architects has shortlisted four buildings in running to be crowned the world's best new building of the year. The selected projects—Stefano Boeri's 'vertical forest' in Milan, the Children's Village in Brazil, a music school in Tokyo, and O'Donnell + Toumey's addition to the Central European University in Budapest—will compete for RIBA's 2018 International Prize.
Established in 2016, the biennial award was the institute's first to be open to an architect based anywhere in the world and was created for the general advancement of civil architecture. The projects selected this year reflect that goal; the distinguished buildings all demonstrate the meaningful impact architecture can have on communities across the globe.
"The marker of a truly successful building is the positive contribution it makes to its local context and people" said RIBA President, Ben Derbyshire. "All four of these projects thoroughly demonstrate visionary, innovative thinking and excellence of execution, and positively impact the communities they have been designed for" he added.
The winner will be decided by a jury that includes Elizabeth Diller and Kazuyo Sejima, among others, and will be announced later this year in November. Scroll down for a closer look at the shortlisted works.
Bosco Verticale by Boeri Studio
"Milan’s Il Bosco Verticale (the Vertical Forest) is a new approach to high rise buildings in which trees and humans co-exist. In essence it is an architectural concept which replaces traditional materials on urban surfaces using the changing polychromy of leaves for its walls.
This is an approach that contributes to the regeneration of the environment and urban biodiversity, without expanding the territory of the city. Compared to many other superficial tokenistic ‘green towers’ this is an impressive experiment and deserves to exert influence over the development of tower design in the future."
Toho Gakuen School of Music by Nikken Sekkei
"This school of music in the Tokyo suburbs replaced an earlier building on the site, which had a conventional arrangement of cellular practice rooms along a double loaded corridor with no natural light. This is a virtuoso example of the architect fully understanding the needs and brief of the clients and users. Nikken Sekkei researched the exact scale and proportions of music practice rooms suitable for each instrument.
The school responds to the urban grain of surrounding houses, its broken up façade reduces its scale externally, internally the experience is like walking around a village. There is an extraordinary richness to this scheme."
Central European University–Phase 1 by O'Donnell + Toumey
"This part-new part-refurbished university building has architectural éclat but great modesty. But the project may not progress, the Hungarian government have indicated that they plan to close the University in response to a dispute with George Soros and the Open Society Institute that funds the University.
The building has become the architectural platform for the preservation of the values that the university espouses - transparency, community, higher education and democracy. Spaces like the auditorium have assumed a public symbolic role in the fight for the University’s preservation."
Children Village by Rosenbaum + Aleph Zero
"The Children’s Village provides boarding accommodation for 540 senior school children at the Canuanã School. Run and funded by the Bradesco Foundation, it is one of forty schools providing education for disadvantaged local children. The foundation owns a large farm in a remote area of the Tocantins Region, where this school is based, and provides accommodation for farm workers, teachers and 840 children, with numerous school buildings, a refectory and a small hospital.
It is a wonderful and masterful response to the brief and entirely appropriate in its tropical environment. The whole feels relaxed, comfortable and homely and is well loved and maintained."
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