The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) and the Jencks Foundation announced renowned Indian architect Anupama Kundoo as the winner of this year’s RIBA Charles Jencks Award. The accolade given in recognition of significant contributions to the theory and practice of architecture acknowledges Kundoo’s holistic practice that marries theoretical investigations, material research and sustainable building methods.
Having trained as an architect in Mumbai, Anupama Kundoo developed a practice around sustainable and low-impact building technologies, with a strong focus on material reuse, while at the same time prioritizing adequate responses to the social and economic context. Kundoo is currently a Professor at the FH Potsdam and has taught at various universities over the years, including Parsons The New School for Design, the University of Queensland, or Yale University.
I have tried to advance the idea that architectural imagination must transcend design and enter the realms of materials science and economics, where some of the bigger questions reside. The thrust of my inquiries has been to find practical ways to fulfil the universal human aspiration for refuge, purpose, and social engagement. I am grateful to the Jencks Foundation, RIBA and the Charles Jencks Award Jury for recognizing that the resulting body of work is no less a theory than a theory expressed in words. My hope is that this work inspires others to ask yet more questions so that together we can build an environmentally and economically responsible stage on which more uplifting human stories can be told. – Anupama Kundoo