The winner of this year’s Royal Institute of British Architects’ Manser Medal will walk home with more than just a sense of glowing pride next week. The trophy for the relaunched prize has been created by ceramicist Petr Weigl and will be awarded to the architect behind the best new UK house or major extension at a ceremony on 11 November.
Weigl, who was commissioned by prize sponsor HSBC Private Bank to create the trophy, trained as a graphic designer and set up early digital group Tonic, before leaving to train in ceramics at Central St Martins College of Art and Design.
The beautifully smooth, porcelain-like crackle surface and ceramic off-white blocks – that represent the building blocks of man – are incredibly tactile, and look like perfectly cubed mini marshmallows sat on a grey slate.
Weigl says, ‘The “building blocks of man” came about after many hours of thrashing out ideas, inspired by the beautiful structures that man can achieve by placing individual elements together in a particular order. It is the harnessing of nature’s raw materials that make the process possible and it was this sensibility that became the concept for the new trophy.’
A keen champion of encouraging the cross over between art and urbanity, Weigl has used materials found in contemporary building, such as sand, mortar, wood, steel and clay in the piece.
The winner of the RIBA Manser Medal will be revealed by the judges next week and will be awarded the £10 000 alongside the trophy.