Max Fordham environmental design prize awarded to stunning viking long-house project

The winner of this year’s Max Fordham Environmental Design Prize has reimagined a traditional Viking long-house as a contemporary town hall and performance space.

Amani Radeef’s fifth-year Masters of Architecture project for UCL Bartlett explores the abilities of light and darkness to mediate and delineate space in a hypothetical Icelandic community building.

“The mysterious site comes alive at night, through unconventional meetings around fire pits,” Radeef explains. “The proposal really engages with the history of the site, with Icelandic traditions of community, and with the ephemeral yet strange qualities of the surrounding landscape and activity of the light.”

Titled ‘An Architecture of Darkness’, Radeef’s project featured a model of the town hall and a photographic and illustrative exhibition of her experimentation with the varying properties of light. It formed part of the UCL Bartlett Student Summer Show recently completed at the venerable London institution.

Director of Education and lecturer in Environmental Design at the school, Oliver Wilton, said Radeef’s exploration “demonstrated the greatest level of ambition, originality, technical innovation and philosophical rigour in the field of environmental design” from Master’s graduates this year.

In addition to offering a £1000 bursary, engineering practice Max Fordham will provide professional support to help develop Radeef’s design idea.

Head of Communications at the practice, Christopher Moore was quick to congratulate the winner.

“We’re delighted to present Amani with this year’s Max Fordham Environmental Design Prize,” he enthused. “The aim of the prize is to recognise young architecture talent at the Bartlett and to help foster closer learning between architects and engineers.”

Radeef will be attending the London office of the engineering firm to present her work to staff.

Special mention was made at the presentation of the prize of Radeef’s design tutors, Johan Berglund and Colin Herperger and her thesis tutor, Luke Lowings.

The Max Fordham Environmental Design Prize is now in its fifth year. The practice has shared a strong association with The Bartlett, its engineers having tutored at the school for more than a decade. Academics from the Bartlett School make up the judging panel for the prize.