The Jencks Foundation and the RIBA will continue the Jencks Award that was established in 1993, as a way of recognising Charles Jencks’ vast contribution to architectural culture and in order to honour the plurality of perspectives that he celebrated in his works as a writer and critic. It will also acknowledge the broader cultures of architecture globally and the changing issues which the profession addresses, constantly expanding the idea of theory and recognising new challenges and forms of practice.
The recipient of the RIBA Charles Jencks Award 2021 is Indian architect Anupama Kundoo. Anupama will be presented with the award on Tuesday 2 November at 6.30pm after which she will deliver a lecture and be interviewed by a critic in collaboration with the New Architecture Writers program, with questions from an online audience.
Anupama said "Our built environment is the physical stage on which all human stories are lived out. This physical stage is the historical and ongoing manifestation of human imagination operating within real (or, imaginary!) constraints. I have tried to advance the idea that architectural imagination must transcend design and enter the realms of materials science and economics where some of the bigger questions reside. The thrust of my inquiries has been to find practical ways to fulfill the universal human aspiration for refuge, purpose, and social engagement. I am grateful to the Jencks Foundation, RIBA and the Charles Jencks Award Jury for recognizing that the resulting body of work is no less a theory than a theory expressed in words. My hope is that this work inspires others to ask yet more questions so that together we can build an environmentally and economically responsible stage on which more uplifting human stories can be told."
Anupama Kundoo trained as an architect in Mumbai before building a substantial body of work in the experimental town of Auroville, in Puducheery from 1990 – 2005. Working in this environment she developed a long-term research project into sustainable and building technologies with an experimental approach to material reuse and sustainable construction methods. Anupama’s practice is holistic; combining research, building and teaching to create architecture outside of the mainstream of the commercial, developer-driven world. Her practice has a strong theoretical and ideological conviction that drives material research, collaborates with local builders, and experiments with sustainable working methods.
The 2021 RIBA Charles Jencks Award jury was: RIBA President Elect Simon Allford; architect and critic Edwin Heathcote; architect and Dean of the RCA, Dr Adrian Lahoud; Jencks Foundation founder Lily Jencks, and previous Jencks Award winner, architect Benedetta Tagliabue.
Anupama Kundoo was chosen from a 2021 shortlist of nominated architects: Emilio Ambasz, Alexander Brodsky, Nigel Coates, Beatriz Colomina, Francis Kéré, MASS Design Group, Peter Salter, Marina Tabassum, Eyal Weizman.
Tickets to attend the Anupama Kundoo lecture are available here: