Viljoen and Bohn win RIBA award for outstanding research.

The Royal Institute of British Architects’ (RIBA) ‘President’s Award for Outstanding University-located Research’ has been awarded to Brighton’s Professor André Viljoen and Katrin Bohn.

The award-winning research is centred on the academics’ concept of Continuous Productive Urban Landscape (CPUL) which bridges a gap between sustainable thinking and lifestyles and current urban design debates.

Katrin Bohn and Professor Viljoen are leading figures researching the urban and architectural design implications of sustainable urban food systems. Much of this research is cross-disciplinary, engaging with artists, design researchers, planning and development practitioners and the public. Both actively use their research to inform teaching and learning at undergraduate and postgraduate level.

The award recognises the academics’ 2014 book Second Nature Urban Agriculture: Designing Productive Cities. This encapsulates a body of research from the past ten years and includes commentaries from international expert practitioners and theoreticians. It advances the theoretical case for CPULs with practical examples thereby exploring the architectural and urban design consequences of sustainable urban food systems.

The book also describes how to incorporate urban agriculture within open spaces and buildings creating a multifunctional productive urban landscape with the aim of advancing the quality of urban life while minimising the ecological footprint of cities.

Current and recent research activities include a major prototype productive urban landscape led by Katrin Bohn in the Berlin suburb of Marzahn and an Arts and Humanities Research Council international network led by Professor Viljoen exploring pathways to policy in support of productive urban landscapes.

With the network they are exploring possibilities for an action research project to further test the CPUL concept in Letchworth, the world’s first Garden City. Bohn also leads a specialised architectural and environmental research consultancy with Professor Viljoen with projects mainly in Germany and the UK.

Katrin Bohn and Professor Viljoen, in a joint statement, said “Receiving this major award is a great honour for us and for all those working in the rapidly expanding world of ‘productive urban landscapes’. It recognises not only our work but that of the many individuals, organisations and cities putting these ideas into practice.”