The Met in Bangkok, Thailand by Singapore-based firm WOHA has scooped the Royal Institute of British Architects' (RIBA) prestigious RIBA Lubetkin Prize for the most outstanding work of international architecture by a member of the RIBA.
A residential skyscraper incorporating outdoor spaces, balconies and gardens, The Met is a 66 story perforate tower which uses the power of nature to cool the apartments. Wind speeds at that height are considerable, so by punching holes through the building and drawing air up vertical voids in the structure, the architects have been able to introduce natural ventilation to flats at all levels. Some of these floors are kept open to provide communal spaces, which include a garden, a gym, a 50 meter swimming pool and other leisure facilities, such as barbecue and seating areas.
The winner of the RIBA Lubetkin Prize was announced at the RIBA Stirling Prize 2011 Dinner in association with The Architects' Journal and Benchmark on Saturday, October 1, at Magna Science Adventure Center in Rotherham, and was featured in a special edition of BBC Two's The Culture Show on Sunday.
The four other outstanding buildings competing for this year’s title were:
■Masdar Institute, Masdar City, Abu Dhabi by Foster + Partners
■Guangzhou Opera House, Guangzhou, China by Zaha Hadid Architects
■Boston Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, USA by Foster + Partners
■Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Richmond, USA by Rick Mather Architects +SMBW
Speaking about the building, the RIBA Lubetkin Prize jury chair and RIBA President, Angela Brady said:
‘This year's shortlist for the RIBA Lubetkin Prize was of an exceptionally high standard, really representing some of most innovative and unique pieces of architecture of the decade. WOHA’s The Met Building is a highly deserving winner; the building combines beautiful design with sustainable credentials, creating a high specification residential complex and an intelligent alternative to the sleek, air-conditioned box in a tropical environment. Congratulations to WOHA for their creation of a delightful and unique building.'
The shortlisted buildings were seen by a visiting jury comprising architects Deborah Saunt, Jim Eyre and Peter Clegg, and RIBA Head of Awards Tony Chapman.
The Lubetkin Prize was established in 2006 and is given to the best international building outside the EU. It is named after the world-renowned architect Berthold Lubetkin (1901 - 1990). The winner will be presented with a unique cast concrete plaque, based loosely on Lubetkin’s design for the Penguin Pool at London Zoo, commissioned by the RIBA and designed and made by the artist Petr Weigl.