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Avanti wins Florey revamp contest


Avanti Architects has won the competition to refurbish James Stirling’s controversial 1971 Florey Building

The practice beat Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios, Hawkins\Brown Architects, John McAslan + Partners, Levitt Bernstein Associates and Nicholas Hare Architects to win the prestigious commission at Queen’s College, Oxford.

The £19 million project to conserve and upgrade the Grade II-listed student halls comes more than 40 years after the terracotta-clad building opened.

Although critically acclaimed the future of the building, which has been affected by leaks and overheating for decades, had been in doubt before the renovation was announced.

Amir Ramezani, director at Avanti Architects said: ‘We are delighted to have the opportunity to work with the Queen’s College to fulfil their vision for the Florey Building. The regeneration of the building sets many intellectual challenges and we look forward to assisting the College in making a massive qualitative improvement in how the building is perceived and enjoyed by residents and visitors alike.’

Competition organiser Michael Reading said: ‘These were all serious and creative schemes but two came to the fore, and Avanti had the edge in their approach. Their team brings together a rich expertise of working with modernist buildings,giving them a new life with great respect to their recent past.’

Client’s view

Dr Linda Irving-Bell, home bursar, Queen’s College, Oxford

‘This competition was quite a revelation to the College, as the innovative ideas proposed were beyond our expectations. We were particularly delighted with the possibilities that Avanti showed us in respect of the Florey Building, and the flexibility of ways in which we might move forward.

‘We are currently discussing these possibilities further with Avanti before decisions are made about the final brief.’


Readers' comments (2)

  • It would be interesting to see which scheme also stood out

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  • I am surprised that local Oxford practice Berman Guedes Stretton have not won this job - especially since Alan Berman is a world expert on Stirling.

    On another note, I hope that this was not another example of opportunistic clients getting lots of creative ideas from architects for very little; or architects giving away their innovative ideas for free?

    Any comments from the RIBA competition review group?

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