The Royal Academy Summer Exhibition reveals 2018 architecture winner

royal academy summer exhibition architecture award 2018
Matthew Bloomfield has been announced the winner of the Royal Academy 2018 Summer Exhibition's Architecture Room prize for his piece 'The parliamentary campus of God's own country'.
(Image credit: Matthew Bloomfield)

If you have been to the Royal Academy of Arts Summer Exhibition, then you would have already had the chance to admire the sheer number, inventiveness and variety of this year’s entries (and if you haven't – just go). Curated by artist extraordinaire Grayson Perry RA, the show has been desrcibed as one of the most fun and colourful snapshots of modern art today, comprising a striking 1,300 or so handpicked artworks in an array of mediums – and the Architecture Room, which this year was especially curated by architect Piers Gough RA, also strongly reflects that. 

From Níall McLaughlin to Ron Arad and Thomas Heatherwick, some of the best and brightest of Britain’s contemporary architecture scene are represented in the exhibits – as well as one of the field’s recent losses, the respected architect Will Alsop who passed away earlier in the year. Works span beautiful sketches, meticulous architectural drawings, paintings, sculpture and of course, plenty of architectural models – something that was especially encouraged by Gough, balancing last year’s Farshid Moussavi-curated show, which focused on drawings. 

There’s tall buildings and tiny buildings, fantastical visions of the future and pragmatic responses to today’s pressing questions, involving housing, culture and heritage across the country; while young, dynamic practices, such as Bureau de Change, are also notably present in the displays. 

As is traditional, apart from orchestrating this architectural celebration, the RA is giving out its annual awards for best in show, and for the Architecture Room this year the prize went to Matthew Bloomfield, a recent Part II University of Sheffield architecture school graduate who currently works at Allies & Morrison. Bloomfield will be presented with the £10,000-worth Turkish ceramics Grand Award for Architecture for an imaginative, well-balanced and beautifully made model of his project: ‘The Parliamentary Campus Of God’s Own Country’. The piece was praised by the judges as a wonderfully crafted piece that reflects a complex, futuristic vision of architecture and urban planning that doesn't use the traditional language of the genre, and an experimentation that touches upon issues such as infrastructure and landscaping for urban settings. 

Further winners of the RA Summer Exhibition’s prizes include Mike Nelson RA, who won the prestigious Royal Academy of Arts Charles Wollaston Award for his entry, ‘Untitled’; and Sofia Mitsola and Jerome Ng, the joint winners of the coveted British Institution Awards for Students.

Royal academy summer exhibition announces architecture award 2018

This year, the Summer Exhibition’s Architecture Room has been curated by architect and Royal Academician Piers Gough. 

(Image credit: Photography: David Parry, courtesy Royal Academy of Arts)

Royal academy announces summer exhibition architecture award 2018

Displays range from drawings, paintings and sketches to architectural models of all shapes and sizes. 

(Image credit: Photography: David Parry, courtesy Royal Academy of Arts)

Royal academy reveals summer exhibition architecture award 2018

The open call for the show this year particularly encouraged architects to enter three-dimensional work. 

(Image credit: Photography: David Parry, courtesy Royal Academy of Arts)


For more information visit the Royal Academy’s website

Ellie Stathaki is the Architecture & Environment Director at Wallpaper*. She trained as an architect at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki in Greece and studied architectural history at the Bartlett in London. Now an established journalist, she has been a member of the Wallpaper* team since 2006, visiting buildings across the globe and interviewing leading architects such as Tadao Ando and Rem Koolhaas. Ellie has also taken part in judging panels, moderated events, curated shows and contributed in books, such as The Contemporary House (Thames & Hudson, 2018), Glenn Sestig Architecture Diary (2020) and House London (2022).