Inaugural Research Residency announced

October 2021–October 2022

The first inaugural resident at The Cosmic House is artist Marysia Lewandowska, whose research engages with archives in London and Portrack, with focus on Maggie Keswick’s legacy in the design of The Cosmic House and its intellectual life. Parallel to the early stages of cataloguing the Jencks archive, Lewandowska’s research seeks to give voice to female presence within the house and archive, and inform institutional archival practices at this crucial, formative time.

Lewandowska said ‘May we consider the archive as a source of nourishment and not a sediment, an open-ended construction of contributions, interpretations, a collaborative effort based on generosity? In the archive interpretations are invited and not already determined, which opens up a creative space for an artist to respond to. The idea of cosmic time embedded in the practice and vision of Charles and Maggie Jencks articulated by The Cosmic House and its archive, presents a unique discursive terrain, where representations as well as temporalities may be given a chance to be constructed anew.’

The Polish-born, London based artist Marysia Lewandowska has for the last 20 years been exploring the public functions of archives, museums and exhibitions. Her projects include the Women’s Audio Archive (2009); Undoing Property? (Sternberg Press, 2013); The V&A Pavilion of Applied Arts It’s About Time at the 58th Art Biennale in Venice (2019). Enthusiasts Archive (2019) has been acquired for the collection of Museum of Modern Art, Warsaw. Her work has been presented by Tate Modern, Moderna Museet, Muzeum Sztuki, The New Museum, Whitechapel Gallery. The latest film Dismantling the Faculty of Law features as part of the 11th edition of GIBCA Biennial in Gothenburg, Sweden. Since 2020 she has been collaborating with Kunsthalle Baden Baden on a long term project entitled Institutional Healing. Gandy gallery in Bratislava is currently presenting The Faculty of Longing, a new installation of photography and sound. She served as Professor of Art in the Public Realm at Konstfack, Stockholm (2003-2013) and Chinese University in Hong Kong (2014–2016).

The RIBA Charles Jencks Award 2021

2 November 2021

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.