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AJ editors pick their top buildings of 2015

Fave buildings collage
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The AJ’s editors choose their favourite buildings of the last year

Rory Olcayto, editor

Aylesbury Estate, by Hans Peter Trenton (1963-77)

Aylesbury Estate, by Hans Peter Trenton (1963-77)

Aylesbury Estate, by Hans Peter Trenton (1963-77)

Soon to be demolished and replaced with higher-value real estate, it has become a powerful symbol of architecture’s struggle find a societal role: as financial instrument or a force for civic equality.

Selimiye Mosque, Edirne, by Mimar Sinan, (1568-74)

Selimiye Mosque, Edirne, by Mimar Sinan, (1568-74)

Selimiye Mosque, Edirne, by Mimar Sinan, (1568-74)

Source: Ben Blossom

Outside? Landmark architecture at its best. Inside? A contender for Europe’s most beautiful room. 

British Pavilion, Milan Expo 2015 by Wolfgang Buttress and BDP

British Pavilion, Milan Expo 2015 by Wolfgang Buttress and BDP

British Pavilion, Milan Expo 2015 by Wolfgang Buttress and BDP

In the tradition of great British pop culture, from the Prisoner to Portishead, this year’s pavilion was wonderfully weird.

Will Hurst, deputy editor

Maggie’s Lanarkshire by Reiach and Hall

Maggie’s Lanarkshire by Reiach and Hall Architects

Maggie’s Lanarkshire by Reiach and Hall Architects

Source: David Grandorge

An elegant sanctuary partially sheltered from its busy hospital grounds by a braile-like wall of white Danish brick.

Dundon Passivhaus by Prewett Bizley

Dundon Passivhaus, Somerset by Prewett Bizley Architects

Dundon Passivhaus, Somerset by Prewett Bizley Architects

This beautifully designed and rather understated timber home was designed by Graham Bizley for his family in rural Somerset and was a runner-up in the RIBA House of the Year awards.

Plymouth School of Creative Arts by Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios

Plymouth School of Creative Arts by Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios

Plymouth School of Creative Arts by Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios

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.

Richard Waite, news editor

Newport Street Gallery by Caruso St John

Newport Street Gallery by Caruso St John

Newport Street Gallery by Caruso St John

Beautiful internal spaces – including delicious recessed concrete handrails - sublime brick work and great street presence. The practice’s scheme for artist Damien Hirst is very, very impressive.

Alfriston Pool by Duggan Morris

Alfriston School, Beaconsfield by Duggan Morris Architects

Alfriston School, Beaconsfield by Duggan Morris Architects

It’s tricky to pick the best Duggan Morris scheme of the last 12 months – an embarrassment of riches almost. But the timber acrobatics of the roof at Alfriston are beyond sweet.   

Copper Lane by Henley Halebrown Rorrison

Copper Lane by Henley Halebrown Rorrison

Copper Lane by Henley Halebrown Rorrison

The nascent co-housing scene is refreshing. This nicely detailed scheme is a rightly becoming a poster boy for the growing movement.

Laura Mark, digital editor

Fishing Hut by Niall McLaughlin Architects

Fishing Hut, Hampshire by Niall McLaughlin Architects

Fishing Hut, Hampshire by Niall McLaughlin Architects

This small fishing hut in Hampshire is a great example of well-detailed simple timber construction. Hovering over a lake the building, which was handed the 2015 Stephen Lawrence Prize, can be opened up and or hunkered down depending on the weather.

Midden Studio by Studio Weave 

Midden Studio by Studio Weave

Midden Studio by Studio Weave

With its fun and slightly whimsical zinc cladding this art space from Studio Weave is delightful. Sitting above a Victorian midden - the former depository for dung from the nearby stables - the scheme cantilevers over a brook and is nestled into the rural landscape.

Vaulted House by vPPR 

Midden Studio by Studio Weave

Midden Studio by Studio Weave

Squeezed onto a former garage, surrounded by 11 party walls and 24 neighbours, this was a challenging project for vPPR but they have created a light-filled space with a sculptural roof. 

Brad Yendle, art editor

Edinburgh Sculpture Workshops by Sutherland Hussey Harris

Edinburgh Sculpture Workshops by Sutherland Hussey Harris

Edinburgh Sculpture Workshops by Sutherland Hussey Harris

Source: Keith Hunter

A great open plan courtyard design with a very Gillespie Kidd and Coia inspired sculptural chimney.

Brewery and Tank Bar by Howling Hops and Threefold Architects

Howling Hops Brewery and Tank Bar by Threefold Architects

Howling Hops Brewery and Tank Bar by Threefold Architects

Source: Charles Hosea

A vast Victorian warehouse transformed into an atmospheric open plan brewery with an on site bar and restaurant with simple finishes.

Sanderson House, David Kohn Architects

Sanderson House by David Kohn Architects

Sanderson House by David Kohn Architects

The addition of 48m² to this Victorian family home is wonderfully conceived and executed, with new raw concrete columns doing the heavy lifting.

James McLachlan, publications editor

Flint House by Skene Catling de la Pena

Flint House, Buckinghamshire by Skene Catling de la Pena

Flint House, Buckinghamshire by Skene Catling de la Pena

Whether or not you like the Flint House hinges on your willingness to separate the building – a pet project for a billionaire dynasty – from the context of the current housing crisis. We should probably be celebrating socially-minded architecture rather than a banker’s trinket. However, the political and social issues that cling to Flint House will fall away in years to come leaving a crafted, atmospheric structure in tune with its agricultural landscape.

Kew House by Piercy & Company

Kew House by Piercy & Company

Kew House by Piercy & Company

Source: Jack Hobhouse

With Kew House Piercy and Company has slotted a rusty steel structure into its historic outer skin with great verve – an entertaining answer to the perennial question concerning how architects work with historic structures.

Darbishire Place by Niall McLaughlin Architects

Darbishire Place Peabody Housing by Niall McLaughlin Architects

Darbishire Place Peabody Housing by Niall McLaughlin Architects

Source: Nick Kane

Niall McLaughlin Architects’ Darbishire Place in Whitechapel for Peabody is a worthy addition to the Trust’s portfolio. A generous project (big windows and thoughtful public space) that is mindful of the existing context.

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Readers' comments (1)

  • I'm sorry, and no offence intended, but I do honestly find the exterior aspect of every one of these buildings exceptionally underwhelming.

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