Children Village by Aleph Zero and Rosenbaum Wins 2018 RIBA International Prize

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Children Village. Image © Leonardo Finotti

Children Village. Image © Leonardo Finotti

Children Village by Brazilian architects Aleph Zero and Rosenbaum has won the 2018 RIBA International Prize. Located on the edge of the rain forest in northern Brazil, the new school complex provides accommodation for 540 children attending the Canuanã School. The RIBA International Prize is awarded every two years to a building that exemplifies design excellence and architectural ambition, and delivers meaningful social impact. Children Village was recognized for it’s vision in imagining architecture as a tool for social transformation.


Children Village. Image © Leonardo Finotti

Children Village. Image © Leonardo Finotti

As one of the world’s most rigorously judged architecture awards, the RIBA International Prize is chosen from many buildings that are visited by a group of international experts. Children Village was chosen from a shortlist of four exceptional new buildings by a grand jury chaired by renowned architect Elizabeth Diller (DS+R). Funded by the Bradesco Foundation, Children Village is one of forty schools run by the foundation providing education for children in rural communities across Brazil. The architects, Gustavo Utrabo and Petro Duschenes from Aleph Zero, designed Children Village in collaboration with Marcelo Rosenbaum and Adriana Benguela from architecture and design studio, Rosenbaum.


Children Village. Image © Leonardo Finotti

Children Village. Image © Leonardo Finotti

Children Village. Image © Leonardo Finotti

Children Village. Image © Leonardo Finotti

Combining a contemporary aesthetic with traditional techniques, Children Village has been described by the judges as ‘reinventing Brazilian vernacular’. The building is constructed with local resources and based on local techniques. Earth blocks handmade on site were used to construct the walls and latticework, chosen for their thermal, technical and aesthetic properties. As well as being cost effective and environmentally sustainable, this approach creates a building with strong connections to its surroundings and with the community that it serves.

Gustavo Utrabo and Pedro Duschenes, directors of Aleph Zero, said: “We are thrilled to have been awarded the RIBA International Prize 2018. It has been a joy to see the children making the building their own and adapting the space to fit their needs. Marcelo Rosenbaum and Adriana Benguela, directors of Rosenbaum, said: “We are deeply honored to have been offered the RIBA International Prize. This award strengthens our understanding of architecture as a tool for social transformation, a tool that transcends construction and creates a deep connection between young people and their ancestors and knowledge.”


Children Village. Image © Leonardo Finotti

Children Village. Image © Leonardo Finotti

Children Village. Image © Leonardo Finotti

Children Village. Image © Leonardo Finotti

The RIBA International Prize 2018 jury was comprised of architects Elizabeth Diller (DS+R), Kazuyo Sejima (SANAA), Joshua Bolchover (Rural Urban Framework), Gloria Cabral (Gabinete de Arquitectura) and Peter Clegg (Feilden Clegg Bradley Studio). Children Village was selected as the winner of the 2018 RIBA International Prize from the following outstanding shortlisted entries:

Central European University (Phase 1), Budapest, by O’Donnell + Tuomey. A new university campus in the heart of Budapest that successfully links old buildings and courtyards to create vibrant new spaces.

Toho Gakuen School of Music, Tokyo, by Nikken Sekkei. A new virtuoso music school designed to visually connect, rather than isolate, practising musicians.

Il Bosco Verticale (Vertical Forest), Milan, by Boeri Studio. The second of two residential towers in Milan in which trees and humans coexist, designed to set a new standard in sustainable housing.

In 2016, the inaugural RIBA International Prize was awarded to Grafton Architects for their outstanding university building, UTEC (Universidad de Ingeniería y Tecnología) in Lima, Peru.

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