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Weronika Zdziarska awarded 2021 RIBA Norman Foster Travelling Scholarship

Italy Architecture News - Jul 21, 2021 - 16:43   1618 views

Weronika Zdziarska awarded 2021 RIBA Norman Foster Travelling Scholarship

The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) has announced Politecnico di Milano's student Weronika Zdziarska as the winner of the 2021 RIBA Norman Foster Travelling Scholarship for her project "Don’t Stay Out Alone: addressing women’s perception of safety and freedom in cities by design."

Awarded annually, the scholarship offers £7,000 to fund research by one outstanding architecture student who demonstrates original thinking on issues relating to the sustainable survival of cities and towns.

Weronika Zdziarska's proposal was selected unanimously by the jury, comprised of Norman Foster, Elena Ochoa, Lady Foster of Thames Bank, Professor Ricky Burdett, Sofie Pelsmakers, Assistant Professor Sustainable Architecture and Sustainable Housing Design, Tampere University and Professor Alan Jones.

Zdziarska's proposal seeks to demonstrate the relationships between gender inequality and design, and to outline best practices for building more inclusive cities.

Weronika Zdziarska awarded 2021 RIBA Norman Foster Travelling Scholarship

Image © Weronika Zdziarska

Zdziarska’s project will evaluate previous interventions carried out by international, regional and local organisations in South America, to improve the safety of women in cities. Five cities have been selected for evaluation, each representing different attitudes and responses to this area of research: Medellín, Colombia; Quito, Ecuador; Santiago, Chile; Montevideo, Uruguay and Curitiba, Brazil.

"The Jury was unanimous in its selection of Weronika Zdziarska’s submission as the winner. Her methodology was impressive, and her project was beautifully presented," said Norman Foster. 

"Her decision to explore issues of gender in the public spaces of just Latin America demonstrated a sophistication in her early research which differentiated her work from that of her worthy fellow applicants," Foster added.

Weronika Zdziarska awarded 2021 RIBA Norman Foster Travelling Scholarship

Image © Weronika Zdziarska

"Zdziarska’s proposal was very well structured and presented, with her focus on exploring and learning from South American urban environments that have improved inclusion and safety and increased gender equality in design," said RIBA President Professor Alan Jones. 

"As a judging panel we were inspired by her initial research and pertinence of the proposal, and her drive to investigate and address these issues on an international scale. Congratulations on this winning project - I look forward to seeing the findings of this important research," Jones added.

Weronika Zdziarska awarded 2021 RIBA Norman Foster Travelling Scholarship

Image © Weronika Zdziarska

The judging panel also commended "Biofuel Producing Technology; Algae: An Alternative Energy Source" by Basant Abdelrahman from the American University in Dubai, UAE.

Weronika Zdziarska awarded 2021 RIBA Norman Foster Travelling Scholarship

Image © Weronika Zdziarska

The 2021 jury comprised of:

  • Norman Foster, Lord Foster of Thames Bank (Founder and Executive Chairman, Foster + Partners; President, Norman Foster Foundation)
  • Elena Ochoa, Lady Foster of Thames Bank (Publisher and curator; Vice-President, Norman Foster Foundation)
  • Professor Ricky Burdett (Professor of Urban Studies, and director of LSE Cities and the Urban Age Programme; Trustee, Norman Foster Foundation)
  • Sofie Pelsmakers (Assistant Professor Sustainable Architecture and Sustainable Housing Design, Tampere University; Co-founder & Director, Architecture for Change (AfC))
  • Professor Alan Jones (President, RIBA).

Weronika Zdziarska awarded 2021 RIBA Norman Foster Travelling Scholarship

Weronika Zdziarska. Image © Tomek Kaczor

RIBA Norman Foster Travelling Scholarship was first established in 2006, the scholarship, supported by the Norman Foster Foundation, is now in its fifteenth year and is intended to fund international research on a topic related to the survival of our towns and cities, in a location of the student’s choice. 

Past RIBA Norman Foster Scholars have travelled through the Americas, Europe, Africa, South East Asia, the Middle and the Far East, and Russia. This year, in response to global travel restrictions, students could alternatively submit a proposal to research a topic in their home country.

Past recipients of the RIBA Norman Foster Travelling Scholarship: Iulia Cistelecan - London School of Architecture in 2020, UK, Siti Nurafaf Ismail - University of Malaya, Malaysia in 2019, Steven Hutt – University of Greenwich, UK in 2018, Chloe Loader - University of Lincoln, UK in 2017. 

Top image: Weronika Zdziarska © Tomek Kaczor

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