Boonserm Premthada Receives 2019 Royal Academy Dorfman Award For Architecture
By Xuan Wei Yap
On May 13, London’s Royal Academy of Arts (RA) named Thai architect Boonserm Premthada the winner of the 2019 Royal Academy Dorfman Award for Architecture. He received GBP 10,000 (USD 13,000) in prize money. Boonserm was selected from a shortlist comprising Mexico City-based Fernanda Canales; Alice Casey and Cian Deegan from Irish firm TAKA Architects; and Niamey-born Mariam Kamara of atelier masōmī. The announcement was made following public presentations by each of the finalists at the RA.
Boonserm is known for incorporating traditional Thai construction methods, materials, and the skills of local craftspeople in his designs. He also pays particular attention to the intuitive solutions that non-architects devise for their everyday surroundings, as well as the manipulation of the five senses. Founded in 2003, Boonserm’s Bangkok Project Studio is behind buildings such as the red-brick-clad Kantana Film and Animation Institute in Thailand’s Nakhon Pathom province; Elephant World in Surin province—a sanctuary that features a brick observation tower; and The Wine Ayutthaya, a bar situated in Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya, inspired by local wood houses.
Established in 2018, the Award recognizes outstanding practitioners who represent “the future of architecture.” Alan Stanton, co-founder of Stanton Williams, and chair of the jury, remarked that the panel “were all knocked back by Boonserm Premthada’s particularly unique projects, which demonstrate an extraordinary empathy, originality and poetic qualities.” He also spoke of the potential for Boonserm to “apply his inimitable approach to the challenges of urban environments.”
Besides Stanton, the jury included Louisa Hutton, co-founder of Berlin-based architecture firm, Sauerbruch Hutton; artist and academic Phyllida Barlow; Richard Burdett, professor at the London School of Economics and Political Science; journalist and BBC television presenter, Kirsty Wark; and architect, academic and novelist, Lesley Lokko.
Xuan Wei Yap is an editorial intern of ArtAsiaPacific.
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