Forensic Architecture recognised with prestigious award

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Forensic Architecture (FA), a research agency based at Goldsmiths, has been named as the winner of the RIBA Charles Jencks Award 2022.

Forensic Architecture team

The Forensic Architecture team

The prestigious award recognises an individual or practice who has made a major contribution to both the theory and practice of architecture. Each year, the winner receives a £3,000 prize and delivers a lecture at the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA).

The 2022 RIBA Charles Jencks Award Jury have announced Forensic Architecture as this year’s prize winner. FA investigates human rights violations and works in partnership with institutions across civil society to carry out investigations with and for communities and individuals affected by conflict, police brutality, border regimes and environmental violence.

FA will be presented with the award at the RIBA on February 22, after which they will give a lecture and be interviewed by Thomas Aquilina from the New Architecture Writers programme.

The RIBA Charles Jencks Award, established by architectural historian Charles Jencks in 1992, is the first time FA has received major architectural recognition.

Eyal Weizman, founder and director of Forensic Architecture said: “We are particularly honoured to be this year’s recipients of the RIBA Charles Jencks Award for two reasons.

“Firstly, it’s the first honour we received from the architectural establishment, and we are delighted the discipline demonstrates its commitment to grow and accommodate practices such as ours, which have been launched from architecture in different destinations. We hope that the award helps inspire architects to use their disciplinary tools to fight for justice publicly and politically.

“It is also an honour because of my friendship with and longstanding admiration of Charles, who supported the work of FA over the years. To be awarded this prize now is thus bittersweet, as we would have loved to celebrate it with him."

Lily Jencks, founder of the Jencks Foundation said: “We are thrilled to award the 2022 RIBA Jencks Award to Forensic Architecture and celebrate their work with a lecture at the ‘House of Architecture’.

“The award is for the simultaneous contribution to architecture practice and theory. We applaud Forensic Architecture as a hybrid practice that is both architecture (understood most broadly as the execution of work that changes the spatial and material relationships between people), and theory- (their studies that create that work).

“While they do not build buildings, each line of enquiry by Forensic Architecture seeks to effect direct change in the physical world around issues of social justice, using the tools of architects in atypical but masterful ways.”

FA investigations employ cutting-edge techniques in spatial and architectural analysis, open source investigation, digital modelling, and immersive technologies, as well as documentary research, situated interviews, and academic collaboration. FA findings have been presented in national and international courtrooms, parliamentary inquiries, and exhibitions at some of the world’s leading cultural institutions and in international media, as well as in citizen’s tribunals and community assemblies.

For more information on their work visit the Forensic Architecture website.