Architect Neave Brown Wins RIBA Gold Medal

Brown is most renowned for his Alexandra Road housing project in London’s Camden borough.

Neave Brown RIBA Gold Medal
Alexandra Road estate Courtesy Oxyman/Wikipedia

The 2018 RIBA Royal Gold Medal has been awarded to architect Neave Brown, a Modernist most renowned for his Alexandra Road housing project in London’s Camden borough.

The project cuts a dramatic profile, with its stepped-back and terraced homes that line parallel roads. The housing project, or “estate” in British parlance, was designed in 1968 and finally completed in 1978. In addition to its 500 generous units, Alexandra Road features a public park, retail, special needs school, children’s center, and community center. Neave’s other two built projects are also multi-unit housing; all three are listed for protection by the British government.

Neave Brown RIBA Gold Medal
Neave Brown Courtesy RIBA

Brown’s devotion to quality housing design was clearly a driving factor in his selection. “The UK must now look back at Neave Brown’s housing ideals and his innovative architecture as we strive to solve the great housing crisis,” said Ben Derbyshire, RIBA president and chair of the selection committee. “The Government must empower and then encourage every single council across the country to build a new generation of well-designed, affordable and sustainable homes that meet the needs of the millions of people currently failed by the housing market.”

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Neave had his own interesting take on his award, saying: “All my work! I got it just by flying blind, I seem to have been flying all my life. The Royal Gold Medal is entirely unexpected and overwhelming. It’s recognition of the significance of my architecture, its quality and its current urgent social relevance. Marvellous!”

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