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AJ columnists pick their top buildings of 2015

Flint House, Buckinghamshire by Skene Catling de la Pena
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The AJ’s regular contributors choose their favourite buildings of the last year 

Ellis Woodman

Newport Street Gallery, South London by Caruso St John Architects

Newport Street Gallery by Caruso St John

Newport Street Gallery by Caruso St John

Caruso St John Architects has adapted a group of early-20th-century scenery-painting workshops into a magnificent gallery for the collection of Damien Hirst.

Granby Four Streets, Liverpool by Assemble

Granby Four Streets by Assemble

Granby Four Streets by Assemble

The young architecture collective Assemble returned a series of derelict streets of terraced housing to use, and was rewarded with the Turner Prize for its efforts. 

Fayland House, Buckinghamshire by David Chipperfield Architects

Fayland House by David Chipperfield Architects

Fayland House by David Chipperfield Architects

Addressing a magnificent view of the Chiltern Hills by way of a loggia of enormous brick columns, David Chipperfield Architects’ building ranks among the most ambitious country houses to be built in Britain in the past century.

Ian Martin

Balfron Tower (1967), London by Ernö Goldfinger

Balfon Tower by Erno Goldfinger

Balfon Tower by Erno Goldfinger

Built with public money for council tenants, now being colonised by people who like Scandinavian noir and Brutalism.

Robin Hood Gardens (1972) by Alison and Peter Smithson

Robin Hood Gardens by the Smithsons

Robin Hood Gardens by the Smithsons

The end of lifetime tenure, the end of ‘nothing’s too good for the working class’ – stuff like this is now just emergency housing, and it’s bed-blocking some luxury fucking dormitory hamlet.

RIBA headquarters (1934), Portland Place by George Grey Wornum

Portland Place

Portland Place

A bright red beacon building for Plymouth and a superb learning environment for its pupils delivered for just £1,450 per m2 – two-thirds the figure for a typical Building Schools for the Future school.

Cathy Slessor

House for Essex by FAT and Grayson Perry

FAT and Grayson Perry's House for Essex

FAT and Grayson Perry’s House for Essex

Described as ‘like being inside a migraine’, this hysterically over-egged love letter to Essex woman is a peculiarly English synthesis of craft skills, electicism and bittersweet sentiment, a lunatic gesamtkunstwerk for our times, and FAT’s delirious last hurrah. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: ‘the Arts and Crafts on crystal meth’.

Darbishire Place, London by Niall McLaughlin Architects

Darbishire Place Peabody Housing by Niall McLaughlin Architects

Darbishire Place Peabody Housing by Niall McLaughlin Architects

Should have won the Stirling Prize for its beautiful ordinariness and fierce modesty, showing how to reconceptualise the already saintly model of Peabody Housing with dignity, decency and generosity. Sadly only a tiny retort to the engulfing shitstorm of London’s unaffordable housing crisis, but an exemplary retort nonetheless. 

Granby Four Streets, Liverpool by Assemble

Toxteth by Assemble

Toxteth by Assemble

Not so much a building but a state of mind. The Turner Prize-winning collective acts as catalysers and rainmakers for an incremental and still ongoing vision of communal life in Toxteth. Imaginative, socially-minded regeneration redefines what architecture could and should be in a rebuke to a profession slowly selling its soul to the most obnoxious bidder.

Denise Chevin

Flint house, Buckinghamshire by Skene Catling de la Peña

Flint House, Buckinghamshire by Skene Catling de la Pena

Flint House, Buckinghamshire by Skene Catling de la Pena

I know I’m jumping on the bandwagon here, but there’s something so seductive about this house. It combines elegance with a rustic solidity that gives it a brooding quality I love.

North Vat, Dungeness by Rodić Davidson Architects

Helene Binet North Vat 09

Helene Binet North Vat 09

The starkness of this house is just perfect for Dungeness. It sits well within the bleak landscape – nuclear-power chic executed perfectly.

The Whitworth, Manchester by MUMA

The Whitworth by MUMA

The Whitworth by MUMA

I used to spend a lot of time in the Whitworth in my student days, and have a soft spot for the place. I like the way this extension seems to fit seamlessly with the Victorian splendour of the original, yet has its own distinct character, creating beautiful and practical spaces that give the old grande dame a new lease of life. 

Owen Hatherley

Garage Museum of Contemporary Art, Moscow by OMA

OMA Garage Museuum of Contemporary Art

OMA Garage Museuum of Contemporary Art

Not a great OMA building, but a fascinating one, the encasing and pickling of a 1960s pavilion into a new art museum, the Palace of Knossos of Soviet Modernist nostalgia.

Victoria Street, London by Lynch Architects

The Zig Zag building by Lynch Architects

The Zig Zag building by Lynch Architects

An unusually serious piece of metropolitan architecture; sober, rhythmic and dashing.

Silesian Museum, Katowice, Poland by Riegler Riewe Architekten

IMG 0529 TYSKIE

Silesian Museum, Katowice

A series of glazed pavilions on the surface of a disused mine, which leads down below to an intriguing collection of outsider art and ephemera.

Hattie Hartman, sustainability editor

The Whitworth, Manchester by MUMA

The Whitworth by MUMA

The Whitworth by MUMA

MUMA’s masterful reinvention of The Whitworth in Manchester connects the building to the park and bravely employs a full array of passive techniques to condition the galleries without mechanical cooling.

Courtyard House, London by Dallas Pierce Quintero

Courtyard House by Dallas Pierce Quintero

Courtyard House by Dallas Pierce Quintero

This deft display of architectural ingenuity uses four tiny courtyards to channel light and views into a 95m² infill house.

Abode, Cambridgeshire by Proctor and Matthews

Abode__Great_Kneighton__c__Tim_Crocker_12

Abode, Great Kneighton

If only more volume housebuilding could create a sense of place like this scheme. A sense of arrival at a central square is complemented by a tight network of landscaped spaces at the edges.

Paul Finch, editorial director

The Cheesegrater, London by Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners

Cheesegrater

Cheesegrater

A magnificent speculative office building, which has repaid the courage of the client and the commitment of the architect in spades.

The Saga headquarters, Folkestone by Hopkins Architects

Saga Folkestone Hopkins

Saga Folkestone Hopkins

This Hopkins Architects building has stood the test of time, not least thanks to the care the client-user has invested in it.

The Arena, Berlin by Franz Ahrens

Arena Berlin1 cArena

Arena Berlin1 cArena

A century-old bus station by Franz Ahrens has been transformed so that it can host a multitude of events – including World Architecture Festival in 2016.

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