The 2014 RIBA Norman Foster Travelling Scholarship has been awarded to Joe Paxton of the Bartlett School of Architecture, University College London for his proposal, ‘Buffer Landscapes 2060’.
Taking the threat of floods, droughts, melting glaciers and rising temperatures as a starting point, his research will investigate some of the measures taken to mitigate the effects of climate change, such as reservoirs, artificial lakes and rivers – and the opportunities that these landscapes offer for habitation, as well as flood protection. The £6,000 travel grant will allow him to study a range of locations, from Kamerik Polder in the Netherlands to Sao Paulo and Los Angeles, as well as investigating ‘glacier grafting’ in the Himalayas and large-scale flood planning in New York.
The jury was chaired by Lord Foster and comprised Stephen Hodder, RIBA President, Christine Murray, Editor of the Architects’ Journal, Edward Williams, architect and Spencer de Grey, Stefan Behling and Narinder Sagoo of Foster + Partners. Applications were received from 36 universities in 12 countries.
During the debate, the jury shortlisted four proposals which were considered worthy of special mention: a study into urban agriculture by Benard Acellam of Makerere University in Kampala, Uganda; an investigation of ‘ghost towns’ by Harry Kay of the Architectural Association in London; ‘The Graveyard Shift’, a spatial and cultural analysis of burial sites by Adam Swinburn of the University of Technology Sydney; and Damian Szyjka of Cracow University of Technology, for his proposal to explore the potential impact of drone technology on cities.