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RIBA Client of the Year Award 2017 shortlist revealed

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The RIBA has announced the four clients vying for its prestigious Client of the Year Award

The shortlist includes the Tate – nominated by Herzog & de Meuron, which completed its Switch House extension last year and Bedales School in Hampshire, put forward by Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios.

The Forestry Commission was nominated by both Glenn Howells Architects, which designed the Stihl Treetop Walkway, and Invisible Studio, the practice behind the Wolfson Tree Management Centre.

The shortlist is completed by the London Borough of Enfield, elected by Karakusevic Carson Architects, which designed the council-backed Dujardin Mews.

The award, supported by The Bloxham Charitable Trust, recognises the role that good clients play in the creation and championing of excellence in architecture.All four clients were the driving forces behind 2017 RIBA National Award-winning schemes.

Last year, the prize was won by Westmorland Limited, the client on the much-praised Gloucester Services, which was designed by Glenn Howells Architects and AFL.

The winner of the this year’s accolade will be announced at the RIBA Stirling Prize party on 31 October at the Roundhouse in Chalk Farm, north London.

The shortlist

  • Bedales School, nominated by Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios
  • Forestry Commissionnominated by Glenn Howells Architects and Invisible Studio 
  • London Borough of Enfield, nominated by Karakusevic Carson Architects
  • Tatenominated by Herzog & de Meuron 


Bedales School Art and Design Building by Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios (client: Bedales School) 

If I could insist upon one thing for this project, it would be that there should be all manner of incidental places to be – places to sit, to draw, to fall in love, to do all the things that happen when you are at Bedales that make it such a wonderful place to be.

The manner and spirit of the conversations with Matthew Rice, chair of governors, and others at the school was so influential – it was a co-authorship in the truest sense. It is a building after a philosophy of being – the ethos of the school is manifest throughout.

Wolfson Tree Management Centre by Invisible Studio (client: Forestry Commission) 

Until the Wolfson Tree Management Centre, The Forestry Commission at Westonbirt Arboretum had never, despite having perhaps the best stock of timber in the country, built infrastructure and buildings at Westonbirt using their own timber or using their own volunteers and staff to assist in the construction. The Forestry Commission is a government organisation, the project was delivered under JCT contracts and the client at Westonbirt was prepared to take the risk of using their own timber, directly from site, in an experimental and prototypical application to construct the buildings with biggest single span from single timber members in UK construction history.

The timber was hand hewn by volunteers on site, graded on site, and used in an untreated and unprocessed way, with Westonbirt’s own staff joining the construction team throughout to acquire new skills that could be used on the Estate. The client showed an enormously level head, patience, shred judgement and brilliant project management skills in assisting delivering buildings that are a model for any and every rural community.

Dujardin Mews by Karakusevic Carson Architects (client: London Borough of Enfield)

Peter George has led an ambitious and design focused team at Enfield Council to start a borough-wide home building programme delivered directly by the council, of which Dujardin Mews is the pioneer scheme. Karakusevic Carson Architects have worked closely with Enfield, advising on strategy, design, and construction on this project and the wider strategy for thousands of new council-led homes.

Alongside this, Enfield is leading one of the country’s largest regeneration programmes at Meridian Water for a new neighbourhood of 10,000 homes and 7,000 new jobs in the Lee Valley. The council have been leading on infrastructure planning, a new station, site-wide masterplanning, production facilities and new industrial space for the 21st century, as well as the first phase delivery of 725 new mixed tenure homes.

Delivering successful projects in such complex locations is really challenging and the success of Dujardin Mews shows the commitment, investment and ambition needed to change the status quo and exhibit the potential of the public sector.

Tate Modern Blavatnik Building by Herzog & de Meuron (client: Tate)

In April 1994 the Tate Gallery declared that the derelict Bankside Power Station would be the home for the new Tate Modern Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art.

Since the opening of Tate Modern on the 11 May 2000, to the unveiling of the Tanks in July 2012, and the completion of the Blavatnik Building in June 2016, Tate Modern has been recognised as the leading gallery of modern art; a progressive and vital public space that attracts millions of visitors every year and has transformed this area of London and the way the world experiences art.

For over twenty years, we have had the privilege of collaborating with this inspiring organisation, and are honoured to have been a part of Tate’s vision for this extraordinary institution.

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