British architect Peter Barber has been awarded the 2022 Soane Medal. Operating through his practice Peter Barber Architects, Barber is widely celebrated for this approach to designing and delivering high-quality, affordable residential architecture.
Awarded every year by the Sir John Soane’s Museum in London, the Soane Medal seeks to celebrate the importance of architecture in culture and society, recognizing figures who have made significant contributions through practice, history, or theory. Barber joins previous winners of the Soane Medal, namely Mariana Tabassum (2021), Kenneth Frampton (2019), Denise Scott Brown (2018), and Rafael Moneo (2017).
“I am so thrilled to have been awarded this year’s Soane Medal,” Barber said. “To be part of such an illustrious group of winners was both a lovely surprise and an honour. Soane was an inventive architect, and I hope that we continue to build on his legacy of experimenting with classical ideas and styles. At a time of such uncertainty, it’s really great to see social housing centre stage.”
The medal is one of several accolades claimed by Barber in recent years. Earlier this year, the firm made the 2022 shortlist for the RIBA Neave Brown Award for Housing; an award which Barber won in 2021 for their McGrath Road development. 2022 also saw Barber named among the winners of the RIBA National Awards for their Kiln Place project.
“There is no housing shortage,” Barber told Guardian architecture critic Oliver Wainwright having been chosen as Soane Medal winner. “There are over 400,000 empty homes in the UK, and about 200,000 homeless people. The vast majority of empty homes are in parts of the country which have become depopulated because of economic decline – in the Midlands, the north, and coastal cities. So the solution to the housing crisis isn’t building tons of homes. It’s about reviving the economy in those places, launching a massive retrofit campaign, and bringing people back.”
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