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Scofidio and Diller Win Royal Academy Prize for Architecture

The Royal Academy has honoured American couple, Ricardo Scofidio and Liz Diller—architects who are responsible for the design of the proposed concert hall for the London Centre for Music, with the Royal Academy Architecture award 2019.

The Royal Academy Architecture prize, which is just in its second year, is targeted towards recognizing architects whose projects contribute to culture with huge effects on the public. Japanese architect, Itsuko Hasegawa is the only other recipient of this award.

The husband and wife team who are perhaps more popularly known for designing the 1.5 mile-long High Line in New York were recognized for their enduring contribution to architecture and the Royal Academy judges have described their partnership as ‘innovative’. The panel which was chaired by Alan Stanton (co-founder Stanton Williams) and made of top players in the field of architecture like Ricky Burdett (LSE Cities director), Louisa Hutton (co-founder Sauerbruch Hutton) among others, made the decision unanimously.

The Jury Chair, Alan Staton has praised the duo for not settling for the normal, choosing instead to reinvent the basic principles of architecture. He also explained that Scofidio and Diller’s current cultural projects have been affected positively by the choice to stand out from the crowd and this has made even the most reputable of architects envious of their projects.

Liz Diller, in response to Royal Academy’s recognition award, said it causes a reminiscing on their earlier projects. Even though they are famous for the High Line in New York and the Broad Museum in Los Angeles, she said their earlier works were experimental. Though 1981 marked the year they began working together (when they founded Diller Scofidio + Renfro in New York), Liz revealed that it took determination for their (largely) experimental ideas to begin to push the boundaries of architecture, becoming the innovative concepts they were now being recognized for.

The Royal Academy Architecture prize 2019 is not the only recognition award the couple has received recently—especially Diller who was on Time magazine’s list of top 100 most influential people for 2018. She also won the 2019 Jane Drew Prize, making her the more popular figure of the duo.

The Centre for Music’s new concert hall and MoMA’s major expansion are projects they are currently working on at the moment. The architects will have the opportunity to speak about the projects at the upcoming Royal Academy Dorfman Award that is expected to come up in May. The Dorfman award is a different award that is used to honour architectural prospects.

Mr Stanton has revealed this year’s shortlist of the Dorfman Award will give recognition to young architects all around the world whose impacts are felt through their work in the face of daunting political and societal odds.

This year, the jury has already identified the finalist which include the following names:

• Mariam Kamara (Atelier Masomi) from Niger
• Boonserm Premthada (Bangkok Project Studio) from Thailand
• Cian Deegan and Alice Casey (Taka) from Ireland
• Fernanda Canales from Mexico

The winner of this award will win the £10,000 attached to this award.