BCKJ Architects Wins Third RA Dorfman Award

John Hill
4. December 2020
Polus International College Students Apartments, Chengdu, China, 2014 (Photo: Dong Mei, courtesy of BCKJ Architects)

As announced during an online presentation on December 3, the Royal Academy of Arts (RA) in London has awarded Dong Mei and Liu Xiaochuan of China's BCKJ Architects the 2020 Royal Academy Dorfman Award.

The annual award, which was established in early 2018 and is supported by the Dorfman Foundation, honors "an emerging architect, practice or collective who is reimagining the future of architecture and whose work demonstrates sensitivity to local and global contexts." The award consistently draws attention to architects who do amazing work but don't yet have widespread recognition.

This year's award occurred later in the year than the two previous iterations, due of course to the coronavirus pandemic. Originally planned for March, the jury* recently convened remotely to choose the winner from the four finalists. The jury selected BCKJ Architects for the £10,000 award over AAU Anastas (Palestine), AOR Architects (Finland), and WHBC Architects (Malaysia). The finalists' video presentations can be watched on the RA website.

Black Tiger Primary School, Mao County, 2010 (Photo: Dong Mei, courtesy of BCKJ Architects)

Dong Mei and Liu Xiaochuan, both born in 1967, founded BCKJ Architects in 2004. The work of the Beijing practice "has spanned urban planning, architecture and interiors," per a statement from the RA, "with a focus on cultural heritage and social engagement." The Badaling Forest Experience Center, among other projects by the firm, also illustrates their awareness "of the environmental damage caused by the construction industry" and belief "that a balance between surrounding terrain, vegetation and regional approaches is the way to ensure a more harmonious relationship with nature."

Badaling Forest Experience Center. Beijing, 2014 (Photo: Zhang Yong, courtesy of BCKJ Architects)

Dong Mei and Liu Xiaochuan are quoted in the statement: "Being selected as the winner of the RA Dorfman Award has been a great honor and a new experience, as this is the first time our work has been recognized outside of China. The award gives us new confidence to pursue future projects and move forward more clearly."

Dong Mei and Liu Xiaochuan follow last year's winner, Bangkok's Boonserm Premthada, founder of Bangkok Project Studio; and Iranian architect Alireza Taghaboni, founder of Tehran's nextoffice and inaugural winner of the RA Dorfman Award.

L-R: Liu Xiao Chuan and Dong Mei (Photo courtesy of BCKJ Architects)
*The 2020 Dorfman Award jury:

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