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In his capacity as a trustee of Sir John Soane’s Museum in London, David Chipperfield has helped to initiate a new annual lecture and prize to broaden the public discourse on architecture and to recognise individuals who have made a meaningful contribution to architectural culture. The inaugural lecturer and recipient of the 2017 Soane Medal is Spanish architect Rafael Moneo.

During his lecture on 1 November at The Royal Institution, Moneo traced the development of architectural attitudes towards history over the last two centuries and questioned whether we can find the historical roots to explain our contemporary built world – a world where ‘radical pragmatism seems to prevail’ at the cost of a wider vision for our cities.

In a conversation after the lecture, David Chipperfield and Rafael Moneo discussed whether it is possible to be optimistic about the future of architecture, the relevance of the architectural profession, and the ways in which architectural education might better understand history.

Following the discussion, the Soane Medal - a replica of the medal given to Sir John Soane by the ‘Architects of England’ in 1835 - was presented to Rafael Moneo by the educationalist and politician Baroness Tessa Blackstone.

The next Soane Annual Lecture will take place in Autumn 2018.

Image by Ben Derbyshire, President RIBA