Amanda Rivera, a student of the Universidad del Bio Bio, Chile, has been awarded the 2009 RIBA Norman Foster Travelling scholarship for her entry entitled, Ancestral Cities, Ancestral Sustainability. Her proposal to undertake a two-and-a-half-month research trip through Bolivia, Peru, Mali, Turkey, Iran, Indonesia and China will focus on living examples of indigenous cultures in the developing world, where she will examine vernacular traditions and the residents efficient use of natural resources.

The annual scheme is open to more than 100 RIBA-accredited schools worldwide, and entries were received from 9 different countries. The jury, which comprised Norman Foster, Sunand Prasad, President of the RIBA, Richard Cork, Farshid Moussavi of Foreign Office Architects and Mouzhan Majidi, Chief Executive of Foster + Partners, were unanimous in their decision.




The standard of entries was very impressive indeed and resulted in a lively jury debate. However, Amanda Riveras proposal emerged as a clear winner. To make sustainable choices for the future, it is essential to learn from the past and to combine the wisdom of vernacular traditions with contemporary technology. I wish her the very best of luck with her research and look forward to learning more about her findings in due course.
Norman Foster, Founder and Executive Chairman

Notes to editors:

  1. For further information, please contact Mina Vadon in the RIBA Press Office on 020 7307 3761 or email, or Katy Harris at Foster + Partners on 020 7738 0455 or email
  2. Initially set up in 2006 as a biennial programme, the £6,000 RIBA Norman Foster Travelling Scholarship is awarded to one student to fund international research on a topic and in a location of their choice. Their findings will be presented in a report which may be photographic, graphic or written - to be displayed at an exhibition at the RIBA and available to view in the RIBA Library. In January 2009, Foster + Partners donated an extra £100,000 to the endowment of the RIBA Norman Foster Travelling Scholarship, enabling the scheme to run annually.
  3. For information about the RIBA Norman Foster Travelling Scholarship contact John-Paul Nunes in the RIBA Education Department, on 020 7307 3678, or visit the Norman Foster Scholarship page on the RIBA website.

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