The RIBA President's Medals Student Awards

The President's Medals History

The oldest and most influential architectural institution in the world, the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) reaches a world-wide audience of individuals and organisations interested in the development of architecture, design and the built environment. The RIBA has over 43,000 members internationally, including 13,000 student members.

The President’s Medals
The RIBA President’s Medals are widely regarded as the most prestigious international awards in architectural education. The awards were established in 1836 when the Institute awarded the Silver Medal for the first time for the best architectural essay, making these the RIBA’s oldest award (preceding the Royal Gold Medal, formally established in 1848). In 1855, the Institute changed the awards’ criteria to award the Silver Medal for the best ‘Measured Drawings’ produced by a talented graduate.

The President’s Medals current format was developed in 1984, when the Institute created a Bronze Medal to reward the design work produced by a student at Part 1 (normally, the first three of five years of the professional qualification in architecture) while the Silver Medal was awarded to a Part 2 student (normally, the last two of five years of the architecture qualification). In 2001, a Dissertation Medal was added to reward written work produced at either Part 1 or 2.

Each year, students from hundreds of schools of architecture al over the world aspire to be selected by their school to enter for the medals, and for the opportunity for their work to be recognised and publicly exhibited.

The winners receive their awards from the RIBA President at a ceremony that takes place at the RIBA in early December of each year and is attended by over 300 people. Guest speakers have included Richard Rogers, Mark Lawson, Richard MacCormac, Paul Smith, Norman Foster, Martha Schwartz and Alex James.

An exhibition of winning work and of a selection of entries submitted is exhibited at the RIBA HQ in London for two months before touring throughout the UK and internationally. Over the last few years, and after closing in London, the President’s Medals exhibition has been displayed in the UK (Belfast, Bournemouth, Canterbury, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leicester, Liverpool, Newcastle, and Plymouth) and also travelled internationally to Australia, Bulgaria, Chile, Kuwait, Ireland, Romania, Saudi Arabia, Serbia, Singapore, Turkey and the United Arab Emirates. The touring of the exhibition is made possible by the generosity of art galleries and schools of architecture that partner with the RIBA to display the exhibition.

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