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Iulia Cistelecan Wins 2020 Riba Norman Foster Travelling Scholarship

First Year Iulia Cistelecan has been awarded the 2020 RIBA Norman Foster Travelling Scholarship for her project ‘Life Between Shelters: Refugee camps of today becoming cities of tomorrow.’

The annual RIBA Norman Foster Travelling Scholarship offers £7,000 to a student of architecture who demonstrates the potential for outstanding achievement and original thinking on issues that relate to the sustainable survival of cities and towns.

Iulia’s project will examine the role that architecture can play in transforming today’s refugee camps into sustainable communities. Iulia will travel to four refugee camps across Africa, Western Asia, the Middle East and South Asia: Bidibidi (Uganda), Zaatari (Jordan), Shatila (Lebanon) and Kutupalong (Bangladesh). Her research will investigate the spaces between shelters, with a focus on the transition from temporary refugee camp to sustainable city. Iulia will also be exploring the importance of educational and social infrastructure in building community growth and resilience.



Life Between Shelters: Refugee camps of today becoming cities of tomorrow. by Iulia Cistelecan.


Lord Foster said:

‘I was delighted by the high standard of the 48 applications which were received from nearly thirty countries. After much deliberation, the jury were unanimous in their choice of Iulia Cistelecan’sproposal as this year’s very worthy winner. The findings from her study on the permanent nature of refugee camps will be universally valuable as well as advancing her own career.’


RIBA President Alan Jones said:

‘Iulia’s research promises to cover some of the most pressing matters of our time: the global refugee and climate crises. I am inspired to see Iulia – who represents the future of our profession -investigating architectural solutions to these complex issues – with her research considering space ,education, social infrastructure and resilience. I very much look forward to seeing the findings ofIulia’s research.’