Every two years, a highly dotted architecture prize honors buildings and their creators for their socially transformative architecture. The RAIC International Prize 2019 shortlist has just been released for this year’s edition containing three very diverse buildings on two continents.
The submissions for the bi-annual RAIC International Prize came from 12 countries and six continents. The six-member jury evaluated them based on criteria including efficiency and effectiveness of the building in use, quality of engagement in a social, cultural, historic, and political context, and craftsmanship.
The three buildings that made the cut are: Edificio E Lecture Building at the University of Piura, Peru; the Thread: Artists’ Residence and Cultural Center Sinthian, Senegal; and the Baha’i Temple in Santiago, Chile.
“We see in these exceptional buildings how architecture can strengthen community, bring together diverse peoples, lift the spirit, and exist in harmony with the environment,” said RAIC President Michael Cox, FRAIC.
Over the next few months until October, the jury will visit each of the shortlisted buildings to gain a deeper understanding and make their final decision of the winner.
In the meantime, here is what we already know about these astounding structures:
The 9,5000 square-meter Edificio E Lecture Building at the University of Piura in Peru was completed in March 2016. Its design is inspired and based on the national policy of encouraging low-income rural students to attend private universities. The universities offer programs for social inclusion through education. The non-hierarchical design reflects an environment for students of diverse backgrounds to meet and mingle. Located in the desert and in a dry ecosystem near the equator, the building’s generous open-air gathering spaces offer shade and cross-breeze and also a sense of community.
Close to the remote border of Mali, the Thread: Artists’ Residence and Cultural Center is a Senegalese community hub for a network of isolated villages. The 1,048 square-meter center offers space for artists, various performances, a public library, and agricultural training since its opening in 2015. The architects of Toshiko Mori Architect from New York, USA, integrated the local pitched roof and other design elements inherent to Senegal into the design. The construction is built with local materials such as bamboo and locally produced compressed earth blocks. The adapted roof construction serves as a collective of rainwater in cisterns and water source for the eight-month long dry season.
The cultural center is a place of social cohesion that provides stability in an ethnically diverse community and spurs inventiveness. Since its opening, dance festivals have been organized, a co-op to grow vegetables was established, and workshops have been held to revive the local cotton spinning and weaving crafts.
The Baha’i temple in Santiago, Chile, welcomes visitors of all faith to take a moment to contemplate. After 14 years of construction, the 2,416 square-meter temple opened in October 2016 and attracted already more than 1.4 million people.
At the edge of the Andes, the stunning design realized by Hariri Pontarini Architects of Toronto, Canada consist of nine torqued cast-glass and marble wings bound to an oculus at the top. The alcove mezzanine offers a space to seek solitude without leaving the community.
The translucent Portuguese marble unites soft light and warmth and gives a sense of weightless movement. The cast-glass cladding was an invention that took four years of experimentation and collaboration with a Canadian glass artisan.
The temple stands for commonality within diversity and its construction was only possible with the help of hundreds of local and international volunteers and highly skilled Chilean tradespeople. It serves as a gathering place for all faith, community space including youth outreach and children’s activities in partnership with public schools.
RAIC is the leading voice for excellence in the built environment in Canada with more than 5,000 members. The RAIC International Prize exists since 2013 and celebrates architecture that is socially transformative. It is also one of the most generous architecture prizes with a monetary award of 100,000 Canadian dollars and a sculpture designed by Canadian designer Wei Yew.
This year’s gala for the RAIC International Prize 2019 will be held on October 25, 2019, in Toronto, Canada, and we are breathlessly waiting for their pick among the three shortlisted buildings.
Source: photos are courtesy of v2com and RAIC International Prize.