Royal Academy Architecture Prize 2020 to Cristina Iglesias

John Hill
16. January 2020
Cristina Iglesias, Desde lo Subterráneo, 2017 - Centro Botín, Santander (Photo: Luis Asín)

The third annual prize — given by the Royal Academy of Arts and supported by the Dorman Foundation — is being given for the first time to an artist instead of an architect: installation artist and sculptor Cristina Iglesias from Spain.

Iglesias's work "invites us to look, not just at buildings, but at the spaces between them," per the RA. She has created sculptures and installations that engage directly with buildings and the public spaces around them, such as Renzo Piano Building Workshop's Centro Botin. This engagement with architecture and public spaces made her a suitable selection for the RA Architecture Prize. 

Iglesias has also worked with Norman Foster — creating the canopy for his eponymous foundation in Madrid and contributing a fountain in front of Bloomberg HQ in London — who chaired the jury for this year's RA Architecture Prize. (Fellow jurors were architect Alan Stanton, artist duo Jane and Louise Wilson, architect Anupama Kundoo, and LSE Professor Ricky Burdett.)

Foster said in a statement from the RA: "Cities are our future – now and for generations to come. Successive generations of urbanists and artists have enhanced open civic spaces with public art in the form of statuary and fountains. The Royal Academy Architecture Prize pays homage to that enduring and vital tradition in its choice of Cristina Iglesias."

Cristina Iglesias said: “I am very happy to be the recipient of this recognition by the Jury and the Royal Academy of Arts, in particular because it values what I believe is the integral role of sculpture in the city, in the public space. I am interested in the crossings between architecture and sculpture, creating spaces and moments for contemplation and reflection in the midst of contemporary urban life.”

Cristina Iglesias, Forgotten Streams, 2017 - Bloomberg HQ, London (Photo: Photo: Thierry Bal)

Today, at the same time as the announcement of the Royal Academy Architecture Prize, the RA revealed the four finalists for the third annual Royal Academy Dorfman Award, "which champions global talent that represents the future of architecture":

  • AAU Anastas (Palestine)
  • AOR Architects (Finland)
  • BCKJ Architects (China)
  • WHBC Architects (Malaysia)

The winner of the RA Dorfman Award will be announced on March 17 during the four-day Royal Academy Architecture Awards Week that takes place March 16-19.

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