Neave Brown Wins 2018 RIBA Royal Gold Medal for Architecture
The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) has announced that Neave Brown will receive the 2018 Royal Gold Medal, the UK’s highest honour for architecture. Given in recognition of a lifetime’s work, the Royal Gold Medal is approved personally by Her Majesty The Queen and is given to a person or group of people who have had a significant influence 'either directly or indirectly on the advancement of architecture'.
Neave Brown, the revered Modernist architect, is perhaps best known for his visionary 1970s Alexandra Road estate near Swiss Cottage built by Camden Council.
With its striking stepped concrete terraces and spacious flats, not only does it provide 500 homes but in Neave’s own words, it’s "a piece of city", containing shops, workshops, a community centre, special needs school, children’s centre, a care home for young people with learning difficulties and a 16,000sq m public park.
Brown believes every home should have its own front door opening directly on to a network of routes and streets that make up a city, as well as its own private external space, open to the sky in the form of a roof garden or terrace. Each of these qualities was incorporated by Brown at Alexandra Road.
Neave Brown will be presented with the 2018 Royal Gold Medal at a private ceremony at the RIBA on Monday 2 October 2017.
Reacting to the news that he will receive the Royal Gold Medal in recognition for his lifetime’s work, Neave Brown said:
“All my work! I got it just by flying blind, I seem to have been flying all my life.
“The Royal Gold Medal is entirely unexpected and overwhelming. It’s a recognition of the significance of my architecture, its quality and its current urgent social relevance. Marvellous!”
What do you think?
The most important question we have to ask is whether Robin Hood Gardens is really sufficient to meet today’s requirements. If not, would demolishment be the one and only solution to be brought up?
Ezgi Tezcan has talked to Peter Barber over social housings shaped under neoliberal urban politics and possibilities of participatory architecture.