​​​​​​​Elizabeth Diller and Ricardo Scofidio are awarded the 2019 Royal Academy Architecture Prize

The Royal Academy of Arts today announced that Elizabeth Diller and Ricardo Scofidio have been awarded the 2019 Royal Academy Architecture Prize, honouring their inspiring and enduring contribution to the culture of architecture. The annual prize, supported by the Dorfman Foundation and now in its second year, was decided by a distinguished international jury, recognising an innovative partnership that from its inception has been passionately committed to interdisciplinary work that expands architectural ideas and urban culture. With their practice Diller Scofidio + Renfro, their work consistently demonstrates how buildings can enhance cities and capture the public imagination.

The jury are also pleased to announce the finalists for the Royal Academy Dorfman Award, which champions global talent that represents the future of architecture. The four architects are:

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

Chaired by the Royal Academician and co-founder of Stanton Williams Alan Stanton, jury members include Director of LSE Cities Ricky Burdett, co-founder of Sauerbruch Hutton Louisa Hutton RA, Head of the Graduate School of Architecture at the University of Johannesburg Lesley Lokko and broadcaster Kirsty Wark. They will be joined by artist Phyllida Barlow RA to select the winner of the Royal Academy Dorfman Award following a public presentation at the Royal Academy Architecture Awards Week, 13-17 May 2019. The week-long public celebration will also include an address by Elizabeth Diller and Ricardo Scofidio, and a cultural outreach programme which will be developed with the British Council as International Partner for the Awards.

The new awards and dedicated spaces for architecture in Burlington Gardens have increased the existing architecture programme at the Royal Academy, including debates, lectures, displays and new commissions to inspire the profession and deepen the public’s understanding of architecture. The reinvigorated programme demonstrates the Royal Academy’s role as a global advocate for architecture, realising the Royal Academy’s mission to garner a wider appreciation and understanding of architecture’s vital relationship to culture and society.

Alan Stanton RA, Co-founder of Stanton Williams and Chair of the Jury, said:

“The Jury were unanimous in their decision to award this year’s Royal Academy Architecture Prize for Architecture to Elizabeth Diller and Ricardo Scofidio. Their extraordinary architectural projects which are founded on their early experimental work in the visual and performance arts resonate with our ethos here at the Royal Academy, formed as it is by both artists and architects. The Royal Academy Architecture Prize recognises a practice at the height of its powers who are leading voices for imaginative urban and environmental design and are an inspiration to architects of all generations.”

Sir Lloyd Dorfman CBE, Trustee of the Royal Academy Development Trust, and Founding Partner of the Awards, said:

“With the Royal Academy Prize winner and Dorfman Award finalists coming from five different continents, they reflect a wide spread of global talent. We are delighted that they are attracting interest from all over the world, since when we conceived the Awards, we wanted them to be truly international. Now in their second year, it is wonderful to see the Awards gaining in momentum, through the attraction of both a commercial and international partner.”

Kate Goodwin, Head of Architecture and Heinz Curator, Royal Academy of Arts, said:

“At the Royal Academy we view architecture as a social artform that is integral to our lives and ever present. We therefore think about architecture broadly and aim to contextualise its relevance within society and culture, often acting as translators between the profession and the public. I believe in expanding the spatial literacy of us all so we can understand the world we inhabit and work towards shaping a better one.”

Elizabeth Diller and Ricardo Scofidio, said:

“This wonderful recognition by the Royal Academy of Arts has prompted us to reflect on the trajectory of our practice. We started as dissidents, challenging architecture as a self-contained discipline and probing its intersections with other cultural forms using a large toolkit of media. A combination of naiveté and determination allowed us to realize some challenging projects over time but it was not until our collaboration expanded to include new partners and a growing staff that we were truly able to push architecture’s untapped agency and convert provocations into meaningful action in cities and institutions.”



Summer Exhibition 2019 
Main Galleries and The McAulay Gallery
10 June – 12 August 2019
Press View: Monday 3 June 2019, 10am – 1pm
Spencer de Grey RA will select the works in the Architecture Room of the Summer Exhibition, in a celebration of our awareness of a more sustainable world. Spencer de Grey invites submissions that show how good design and a strong sustainable agenda can be mutually compatible, illustrating approaches necessary to help protect the environment.

The Gabrielle Jungels-Winkler Galleries
24 November 2019 – 23 February 2020
Press view: 20 November, 10am – 1pm
Eco-Visionaries will explore current practices of art, design and architecture that, beyond mainstream notions of sustainability, respond with innovative approaches to the ecological transformations that are disturbing our planet. Through photography, film, installation, architectural models and digital media, architects and artists including Superflex, Unknown Fields, BIG, Dunne & Raby, HeHe and Andrés Jaque, will examine the impact of human action on earth, suggesting ways in which we might respond to a rapidly changing world.

A project initiated by MAAT (Lisbon, Portugal), Bildmuseet (Umeå, Sweden), HeK (Basel, Switzerland) and LABoral (Gijón, Spain), in collaboration with the Royal Academy of Arts.

Architecture Studio 

Invisible Landscapes: Imagination (Act III) 
Architecture Studio
2 February – 1 April 2019
Invisible Landscapes is a free, almost year-long programme of experimental interventions exploring the impact of emerging technologies on architecture and society. The final act, Imagination (Act III)presents work by four pioneering architectural practices – Gilles Retsin Architecture, ScanLAB Projects, Keiichi Matsuda and Soft Bodies – each looking at the impact virtual and augmented-reality technologies have on physical space and vice versa. From immersive installations to film and live experiences, this project explores how these technologies might transform the way we interact with and look at the world around us, both now and in the near future

Supported by HTC Vive and Metsä Wood and NOWNESS as Media Partner

Architectural Futures: Royal Academy Dorfman Award 
Architecture Studio
12 April – 19 May 2019
A display of the work of the four finalists for the Royal Academy Dorfman Award, which champions new talent in architecture from across the world. Through models, images, films, books and personal artefacts, the display will offer a window into their practice, local culture and work. Visitors will get the chance to vote for who they think should receive this illustrious award, which will be decided in front of a live jury during Architecture Awards Week (13-19 May 2019).

Events Programme 

Alternate Languages: Confronting Boundaries 
Burlington House and Burlington Gardens
16 March 2019, 11am – 7pm
Alternate Languages is a day of free immersive spatial activations, performances, workshops and discussions taking place throughout the recently opened, expanded campus. We use the public and private spaces of the Royal Academy as the context in which to raise questions about what unites us and what divides us; about exclusion and generosity; about isolation and connectedness. This is the third event in a series by the same name that was first initiated with the British Council to occupy the empty space of the British Pavilion, for Island, at the 2018 Venice Architecture Biennale.

Benjamin West Lecture Theatre
1, 15 and 29 April 2019
This series starting in April 2019 will interrogate the social, political and architectural implications of borders through performances, lectures and debates. Inspired by the UK’s imminent departure from the EU, these events will span from considering the architectural and spatial implications of walls, to looking at the impact of climate change on the seemingly fixed nature of transnational borders.

Royal Academy Architecture Awards Week 
Benjamin West Lecture Theatre
13 – 17 May 2019
The RA will host a week-long public celebration which will include the selection of the winner of the Royal Academy Dorfman Award following a public presentation, and an address by Elizabeth Diller and Ricardo Scofidio, the winners of the Royal Academy Architecture Prize. The week will also include talks, activities and workshops that create cultural exchange between international and local practitioners and students aimed at both the public and profession.

Sir Richard MacCormac Memorial Lecture 
Benjamin West Lecture Theatre
October 2019
In October 2019, the Royal Academy will launch the inaugural Sir Richard MacCormac memorial lecture, in memory of renowned modernist architect and Royal Academician. The annual lecture will see an international cultural figure discussing the social purpose of architecture.