Nicholas Grimshaw, whose well-known work includes the International Terminal at London's Waterloo station and the inflatable, geodesic biomes at the Eden Project, has been announced as this year's 2019 Royal Gold Medal recipient. Awarded yearly by RIBA in recognition of a lifetime's work, it is considered the UK's highest accolade for architecture. Grimshaw follows Neave Brown, the social-housing pioneer who was awarded last year shortly before his passing. Other previous winners include Zaha Hadid, Frank Gehry, Norman Foster, Frank Lloyd Wright, and many, many more.
The Royal Institute of British Architects praised the architect for his "extraordinary innovative approach to architecture and his modernist signature." Despite telling the Guardian he's "never liked the term 'hi-tech', Grimshaw, nevertheless, has come to be known over the course of his decades long career as a pioneer of the late modernist style that incorporated elements of industry and technology into building design.
"He is responsible for an extraordinary number of buildings and infrastructure projects of international significance, and for the continuous development of an architecture which places technology at the heart of the aesthetic...his recognition with this Royal Gold Medal is well overdue," said RIBA President Ben Derbyshire.
Grimshaw's nomination for the award comes from AHMM co-founder Simon Allford, who worked for Grimshaw in the early 80s. Part of a wave of British architects experimenting with new technologies, materials, forms and structures, Grimshaw also received much support from the style's other main protagonists, many of whom have received the honor themselves in years past.
Norman Foster spoke highly of the architect, acknowledging that Nick's "influence on the international architectural community is undeniable." "His architectural outlook is very much based in an honesty towards materiality and structure – like me, he believes that every type of building merits the same care in design," he added.
Richard Rogers, who was also delighted to support the nomination, reflected that he's "known Nick since he was a student at the Architectural Association and followed his career closely. He is an internationally renowned architect and was an exceptional president of the Royal Academy."
"I highly recommend him for an RIBA Gold Medal," he concluded.
The selection committee was headed by Derbyshire with Patty Hopkins - herself an RIBA Gold Medallist in 1994, Bob Shiel of the Bartlett School of Architecture, opera chief and honorary fellow Wasfi Kani, and Pat Woodward of Matthew Lloyd Architects.
The Royal Gold Medal will be presented at a special ceremony in early 2019.
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