MArch graduate Lisa Edwards receives Commendation in the 2020 RIBA President’s Silver Medal

Kent School of Architecture and Planning (KSAP) are delighted to share the news and offer our huge congratulations to 2020 MArch graduate, Lisa Edwards, who has been awarded a Commendation for her design project, ‘Reclaiming the Sento’, in the 2020 RIBA President’s Silver Medal. Lisa’s design project was one of the best out of the 144 entries received this year from schools worldwide in the Silver Medal category. The RIBA President’s Medals date all the way back to 1836, and are regarded as the most prestigious awards in architectural education worldwide.

Lisa’s project, ‘Reclaiming the Sento’, portends catastrophic climate change in Japan resulting in the displacement of communities from eastern prefectures towards Tokyo City. A new disaster relief centre in a central Tokyo suburb provides temporary refuge for the displaced families. The proposal repurposes an existing apartment building earmarked for demolition combined with a new traditional bathhouse (sento); a typology significant to Japanese culture since the Heian period.

The scheme aims to sustain the social value of the Japanese bathing culture and actively encourages integration between those displaced and their host communities. The resultant architecture explores issues of sustainability in combination with craft and cultural values. The sento (bathhouse) is formed around an exploration of water lifecycle; it uses reclaimed components from Tokyo’s abandoned homes (Akiya), bamboo grown in the Tokyo Ward, Japanese jointing techniques, the reuse of existing aggregate in low strength mud-wall technology and explores the application of seismic technology.

When asked for her thoughts regarding the RIBA President’s Silver Medal Commendation, Lisa responded, “I am overwhelmed to receive a Commendation in the Silver Medal category this year. I have followed the President’s Medal Awards since the beginning of my studies with great admiration, and am so grateful to receive recognition amongst some truly amazing projects submitted from architecture schools around the world. I would like to thank my tutors, Matthew Woodthorpe, Yorgos Loizos and Ben Corrie for their support, and KSAP for providing me with the opportunity to study for a term abroad in Japan.”

Lisa Edwards was a student in MArch Unit 4 last year, run by Unit Leaders: Matthew Woodthorpe, Yorgos Loizos and Ben Corrie. Unit 4’s theme was centred around the rise of climate change activism as an effective methodology and major influence on civil society and government. Matthew Woodthorpe, co-founder of MWAI, comments, “Climate change is the issue of our time. Enabling young, talented architects by giving them the tools and confidence to tackle sustainability is vital for our future. KSAP are leading the way, with both ACAN and the RIBA providing leadership, support and inspiration. On a personal note, we are all delighted for Lisa. She is such a talent and a pleasure to teach.”

MArch Programme Director, Michael Richards, shares his thoughts, “Since our most recent success in the RIBA President’s Silver Medal, with the Serjeant Award (2016), KSAP’s MArch students and graduates have been busy garnering national success in the SPAB Philip Webb Award (2016); 3DReid Prize, both winner (2017) and runner-up (2018); featured in the RIBA Fresh Perspectives Exhibition (2018); and won the IHBC Gus Astley Award (2019). The 2020 RIBA President’s Silver Medal special commendation for Lisa Edwards, further amplifies and builds this success. The diversity of national achievement reflects the creativity of students drawn from the spectrum of MArch Design Units. We believe that design and technology are intrinsically bound together; a virtuous and critical vortex of creativity. Our finalists’ work is redolent with the complexities of what real architecture is, and demonstrates that our graduates can both talk-the-talk, and walk-the-walk.”

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