LONDON.- The Royal Academy of Arts
announced this evening on Thursday 3 December 2020 at an online presentation, that Dong Mei and Liu Xiaochuan, of BCKJ Architects, an architectural practice from China, have been awarded the 2020 Royal Academy Dorfman Award, honouring an international talent that represents the future of architecture.
The award, supported by the Dorfman Foundation, was to be decided from four finalists and announced in March 2020, but was delayed due to Covid-19. The distinguished international jury recently convened to decide the winner, chaired by the Royal Academician and founder of Foster + Partners, Norman Foster. Jury members included co-founder of Stanton Williams, Alan Stanton RA, artist duo Jane and Louise Wilson RA, Pondicherry and Berlin-based architect, Anupama Kundoo and Professor of Urban Studies at the London School of Economics, Ricky Burdett. They were joined by last years winner of the Royal Academy Dorfman Award, Thai architect Boonserm Premthada, and the winner of the 2020 Royal Academy Architecture Prize, Cristina Iglesias.
BCKJ Architects is located in Beijing, China and was founded by Dong Mei (b.1967) and Liu Xiaochuan (b. 1967) in 2004. Over the past 15 years, BCKJs work has spanned urban planning, architecture and interiors, with a focus on cultural heritage and social engagement. The practice is acutely aware of the environmental damage caused by the construction industry and believes that a balance between surrounding terrain, vegetation and regional approaches is the way to ensure a more harmonious relationship with nature. This can be seen in projects such as the Badaling Forest Experience Center, one of the earliest natural exploration centres in China, and the Clove Valley ECO-hotel.
BCKJ Architects were selected from four finalists nominated for the 2020 Royal Academy Dorfman Award, including AAU Anastas (Palestine), AOR Architects (Finland), and WHBC Architects (Malaysia). The £10,000 award was announced at an online event today, 3 December 2020.
Dong Mei and Liu Xiaochuan, BCKJ Architects said: Being selected as the winner of the RA Dorfman Award has been a great honour and a new experience, as this is the first time our work has been recognised outside of China. The award gives us new confidence to pursue future projects and move forward more clearly.
Norman Foster RA, Founder and Executive Chairman of Foster + Partners and Chair of the Jury, said: As a jury we were hugely impressed by the way in which you as an architect were returning to the core values of individuals within society. Addressing heritage, history, the importance of nature and respect. We agree that these are hugely important messages anywhere in the world, but given the context of urbanisation in China become particularly important.
Lloyd Dorfman, Trustee of the Royal Academy Development Trust, entrepreneur and philanthropist, said: I congratulate BCKJ Architects on becoming the third winner of the RA Dorfman Award. As a foundation, we wanted to continue our support for exceptional emerging talent in architecture, especially in times when many practices are facing greater challenges than ever before. Over the three years, the winners of the RA Dorfman Award have come from Iran, Thailand and China. It highlights the role of the arts in transcending politics.