World's Best New Building

Updated: Feb 4

A hospital in rural Bangladesh has been named the world’s best new building. The Friendship Hospital in Satkhira has just been declared winner of the 2021 RIBA International Prize. Judges praised the structure for putting “care and humanity at the heart of its design”.

Aerial view of the Friendship Hospital in Bangladesh

The RIBA International Prize is awarded every two years to a building which exemplifies design excellence and architectural ambition and delivers meaningful social impact. It is one of the world’s most rigorously judged architectural awards, with every longlisted building visited by international experts.


Located in a waterlogged area vulnerable to climate change, the £1.5m hospital is run by an NGO and embodies the spirit of resilience. Its architect, Kashef Chowdhury, designed the building to withstand extreme weather, harvest rainwater and uplift patients. A canal running through the site provides natural cooling.

“The hospital is very relevant to critical global challenges, such as unequal access to healthcare and the crushing impact of climate breakdown on vulnerable communities,” said RIBA judge, Odile Decq.


“It is a demonstration of how beautiful architecture can be achieved through good design when working with a relatively modest budget and with difficult contextual constraints. This hospital is a celebration of a building dedicated to humans.”