This has been a very good year for leisure buildings, but it seems to be London and the South East that are having most of the fun, with only one project in the north of the country
On the one hand, there’s plenty of pizzazz on show, for example at One New Change designed by Ateliers Jean Nouvel and Sidell Gibson Architects, with its faceted grade-fritted envelope and, on the other, projects like Caruso St John Architects’ Chiswick House Café, distinguished by their restrained elegance.
Hopkins Architects’ Olympic Velodrome - a near-certainty for the Stirling shortlist - strikes the right balance.
Reception Hide Complex, RSPB Rainham Marshes
Haysom Ward Miller Architects
Contract value £314,000, £1,847/m²
Citation A series of timber structures sits astride a raw concrete barrier that provides some form of flood defence and creates two very different habitats: a fresh water lagoon and a salt water marsh. On such a unique site it would have been easy for the architects to get carried away with either elaborate structures or force minimalism, however the hide does neither.
Chiswick house Cafe, Caruso St John Architects
Client Chiswick House and Gardens Trust
Contract value £1.3 million, £3,652/m²
Citation Pristine in the landscape, with a perimeter arcade and flat roofline, the Chiswick House Café is a worthy addition to William Kent’s Grade I-listed estate. For a modest building this pavilion has great scale, stature, solidity and permanence, capturing the classical essence of the Palladian villa in a completely new way. Winner of the 2011 RIBA London building of the year award.
Olympic Velodrome, Hopkins Architects
Client The Olympic Delivery Authority
Contract value £90 million, £4,147/m²
Citation The Olympic Velodrome, winner of the AJ100 Building of the Year accolade, exudes an aura of elegance and simplicity. The very form of the building signals the track: a continuous, sinuous shape that seems to explain the movement of the event itself. A consummate exercise in a simple idea, beautifully, efficiently and gracefully executed.
See AJ 24.02.11 and AJBuildingsLibrary.co.uk
Marshland Discovery Zone, RSPB Rainham Marshes
Contract value £600,000, £1,699/m² (including external decking)
Citation Shipping containers dumped on a marsh are not normally perceived as having aesthetic or practical value or be capable of forming a place for exploration and delight. But the inherent rawness of these Cor-Ten containers allows them to retain their industrial identity, even as they are re-invented as places for observation and learning.
One New Change, Ateliers Jean Nouvel with Sidell Gibson Architects
Client Land Securities
Contract value £300 million, £1,947/m²
Citation Given its proximity to St Paul’s Cathedral, the radical nature of the architectural language and approach is remarkable. The architects have opened up the building to lost connections across the site, and to fresh air. People are also allowed onto the roof, giving London a new public space with unique views of the river Thames.
H10 Hotel, Maccreanor Lavington
Client H10 Hotels
Contract value £14.5 million, £967/m²
Citation The narrowness of the Waterloo site has produced a striking civic composition, clearly defining thebase, middle and top of the building. A ground-level cut-back provides a generous pedestrian route, enlivening the street frontage and creating an overhang that shelters the glazed entrance foyer. This is a mature exercise in taming a large facade.
55/02 Shelter, Sisteen*(makers)
Client The Kielder Partnership
Contract value £60,000, £2,000/m²
Citation Constructed from thick folded steel, this bold, red, mysterious piece is an enigmatic resting point at the tip of a spit of land jutting into Kielder Water in Northumberland. The piece, whose name refers to its grid reference, takes a worthy place among the architectural and art treasures of Kielder Forest, several of which have already won RIBA Awards.
Region North east
Town Hall Hotel and Apartments, Rare Architecture
Client Mastelle (Zinc House)
Contract value £17 million, £1,910/m²
Citation This is a project of great luxury and invention. The old Bethnal Green Town Hall has been ravishingly transformed into a mix of hotel, serviced apartments, conference spaces, bar and restaurant. There is anotherworldliness o the whole ensemble; different genres and elements drift past one another in a kind of architectural reverie.