On the occasion of the annual President’s Medals 2013, Ben Hayes of the Bartlett School of Architecture, University College, London, received the SOM Foundation Travelling Fellowship Award and the RIBA Silver Medal. The awards are given to a student who has completed the Part 2 Course of Study at a school of architecture in the United Kingdom. Ben’s winning submission is entitled Kizhi Island.
Ben proposes a museum landscape that will facilitate the restoration and reassembly of over 200 wooden Orthodox churches on Kizhi Island in Northern Russia. He explains, “these fragile, desecrated structures have a spiritual presence that commands respect, however, in the next 10 to 15 years these wooden monuments will almost totally disappear. This proposal explores in-depth the changing relationship between the Russian landscape and national identity, tracing back the influence of Romanticism at the start of the nineteenth century and looks at the wide scale impact of Soviet collectivization and de-ruralization. Challenging the program of the existing museum on the island, the proposal will include temporary and permanent structures for research, storage, preservation and exhibition of each church which has been relocated. The project dramatically redesigns the visitor experience on the island, and is an earnest call for the protection and celebration of this most fragile part of the cultural heritage of Russia.”
In continuing his interest and research in Russian heritage, Ben will use his research fellowship for further travel to Russia to continue to work on the Russian Ark Project, and collaborate with the charity, Wooden Architecture at Risk (WAaR).
Ben has previously worked at Matthew Springett Associates, Foster + Partners, and has lived and worked in both London and Beijing. Ben joined Niall McLaughlin Architects in 2013, where he is presently employed.