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RIBA National Award winners 2017

Riba national awards 2017
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House • Cultural • Campus • Health/wellbeing • Housing • Infrastructure • School • Workplace • Leisure

Here are all 49 winners of RIBA National Awards in 2017 – complete with judges’ citations and project data – sorted into typology and with introductions from Rob Wilson and Jon Astbury


house banner

house banner

The private house sector, more so than others, often provides a telling barometer of a jury’s tastes – one that last year proved controversial with the omission of FAT and Grayson Perry’s A House for Essex. This year again there is no such lavishness, and the city has been left behind in favour of grittier, textural rural retreats, projects that present themselves with a heavy dose of ‘regionalism’ and ‘vernacular’. Modesty, materiality and pitched roofs reign, with the wackier exception of Macdonald Wright and Rural Office for Architecture’s Caring Wood in Kent. It is a welcome departure from the pads of London’s ‘banker belt’ in favour of something a little more sensitive. Jon Astbury

No 49 by 31/44 Architects

No 49 1193 anna stathaki pressimage 1

No 49 1193 anna stathaki pressimage 1

This beautifully composed, new-build house sits on a small street in Hither Green, south-east London. The side of the street forms the back wall of gardens with occasional garages and outbuildings. The new house makes a significant urban contribution by providing a clear edge and identity to this side of the street, which was previously lacking in definition. 

Within the house, magical proportions and an ingenious use of space provides a set of zen-like domestic interiors and courtyard spaces, fitting for a small family. As an infill project, the house and courtyards are largely inward-looking, providing privacy and tranquillity. The interior and exterior spaces merge together seamlessly, extending the space of the living rooms out into the gardens.

Details have been meticulously considered, down to the electrical switches, and the setting-out and execution is near-perfect. The house is a self-build project for the owner/architect and as such was delivered at a very low build cost. The judges felt that this house was outstanding.

Region London • Location London · Client Confidential · Structural engineer Blue Engineering · Completed June 2016 · Area 125m² · Cost £245,000 · Cost per m²  1,960

Peacock House by BHSF Architekten with Studio-P

Peacock house 1327 benedikt redmann pressimage 5

Peacock house 1327 benedikt redmann pressimage 5

Source: Benedikt Redmann

This house’s opaque outside conceals a series of wonderful internal and external spaces that are delightful and extraordinarily consistent in their detailing.

It is in a wooded area in the suburbs of Aldeburgh, Suffolk, surrounded by other properties without any particular outlook, so it is entirely appropriate for it to be inward looking around a courtyard. The arrangement of three building blocks is extremely simple, consisting of main living spaces, study and a studio. These all have consistent and immaculate detailing using a restrained set of materials.

The plan looks rigorous, yet because of the subtleties of different floor levels and roofscape the rooms all have an individual feel. There is a nice play of serviced spaces against living spaces, keeping the latter concealed, as well as movement from one building to another. 

The house is an accomplished work of architecture, whose simplicity in plan, elevation and detail belies an intriguing complexity.

Region East · Location Aldeburgh · Client Jila and Andrew Peacock · Contractor Builders by Design · Structural engineer Constant · Completed Dec 2016 · Area 264m² · Cost £948,597 · Cost per m² £3,593

Newhouse of Auchengee by Ann Nisbet Studio

Ann nisbet studio newhouse of auchengree (c) david barbour

Ann nisbet studio newhouse of auchengree (c) david barbour

Source: David Barbour

This contemporary farmhouse pays homage to the aesthetic of historic farm buildings in this part of North Ayrshire. On an elevation, commanding long views over the agricultural landscape, the building is a cluster of separate spaces, reflecting the way that rural buildings were developed and extended over decades past.

The main public spaces and bedrooms are set within a two-storey section. The master bedroom is within a linear single-storey area, while an annex, accessed via the courtyard, offers a further two bedrooms. 

The whole composition clusters around a three-sided courtyard to the east and a sheltered terrace to the south-west.

The zinc external cladding reflects the light and cloud patterns of its elevated setting, playing upon a building that is contemporary, contextual and in harmony with the light and life of its locale.

Region Scotland · Location Auchengee · Contractor 3b Construction · Structural engineer Peter Brett Associates · Completed May 2015 · Area 320m² · Cost Undisclosed

Caring Wood by James Macdonald Wright and Niall Maxwell 

Caring wood 0442 © heiko prigge

Caring wood 0442 © heiko prigge

Source: Heiko Prigge

This ambitious project seeks to re-envisage the English country house in the 21st century to meet the needs of three generations of the same family. The jury was impressed with how the architects had manipulated space and scale to balance the need for grandeur with intimacy – from the soaring spaces of the piano nobile to the living spaces partially embedded in the hillside below. As a result they have created a house of more than 1,400m² that nevertheless feels like a home. 

The design is modern but with clear links to the Kentish rural vernacular and local building traditions. The house comprises four towers with an interlinking roof. A conversation is set up both between the towers of the house itself and with those of the oast houses in the distant landscape, providing a tension to the overall composition. The jury was also impressed with the quality of the build, the level of craftsmanship and the rigour of the pared-back palette of materials employed throughout. 

Region South East · Client Confidential · Executive architect practice Rural Office for Architecture · Contractor Cardy Construction · Structural engineer Price & Myers · Completed October 2016 · Area 1,443m² · Cost Undisclosed

Shawm House by MawsonKerr Architects

Shawm house 1460 rob rhodes pressimage 2

Shawm house 1460 rob rhodes pressimage 2

Source: Rob Rhodes

It isn’t often that you visit a self-build or professionally procured house that is immaculately constructed, sensitively conceived and has heart and soul with which it is impossible not to make an emotional connection.

Working in partnership with project architect Dan Kerr, client/builder Richard Pender has developed from scratch an enviable understanding of construction methodology and technologies, new practical skills and an undeniably keen eye for detail. 

The project team has combined its knowledge of Passivhaus construction with a sustainable design ethos, and aligned this to a strategy for using materials available on site and from local sources to conceive a truly sustainable, low-energy and low-impact proposition. The finish quality is evident in the building’s appearance and excellent performance criteria, not least its outstanding airtightness.

Shawm House is a standout example of what is possible with clarity of thought and exceptional and focused deployment of an architect’s skills.

Region North East · Location West Woodburn · Client Richard, Tony and Anne Pender · Contractor Richard Pender · Structural engineer Shed · Completed January 2017 · Area 274m² · Cost £351,000 · Cost per m² £1,281 

South Street by Sandy Rendel Architects

South street 1251 richard chivers pressimage 2

South street 1251 richard chivers pressimage 2

Source: Richard Chivers

South Street in Lewes, East Sussex, is a fantastically bold response to a constrained site bounded by the river on the west and the main road and cliffs to the east. These difficulties have been turned into opportunities and the constraints have formed the basis of the design concept. 

While most of the houses to the street offer gable elevations to the river, this scheme offers the long elevation to the river, maximising the site’s potential. The house offers more protective elevations to the busy road, with expansive glass being reserved for views over the nature reserve.

The jury felt that this house exhibited beautiful execution of a pared-back palette of materials. The rugged in-situ concrete retaining walls of the riverbank morph into a slightly more refined board-marked concrete on the ground floor. This in turn gives way to Cor-ten rainscreen cladding above, reminiscent of an industrial wharf. The plan of this house is very simple but takes maximum advantage of the extraordinary views. 

Region South East · Location Lewes · Client Confidential · Contractor Myriad Construction · Structural engineer Stephen Evans Associates · Completed October 2015 · Area 257m² · Cost £690,000 · Cost per m² £2,685

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cultural banner

cultural banner

The large number of cultural projects on the shortlist, and their mix in scale, illustrate the breadth of cultural provision around the UK, but also the challenges that face the cultural ecosystem. Schemes such as Flanagan Lawrence’s Live Works in Newcastle show how regional cultural buildings are operating as mixed-use facilities in order to support art provision, and how they can be skillfully bedded into the city fabric.

A few of the big beasts are here; some worthily, such as RSHP’s refined, rigorous Conservation and Exhibition Centre for the British Museum, some less so – Herzog & de Meuron’s finely clad but functionally vacuous Tate Modern Switch House seems a tick-box inclusion. These two major projects are both extensions, and the balance of projects in this sector has undoubtedly shifted more to enlargement, restoration and creative retrofit from the standalone signature. Caruso St John’s finely assured Liverpool Philharmonic shows how this can be done subtly and creatively, and serves to underline why John Pawson’s awkward insertion of the Design Museum into the Commonwealth Institute did not make the shortlist. Rob Wilson

Tate Modern Switch House by Herzog & de Meuron

Tate Modern HdM 2826

Tate Modern HdM 2826

Tate Modern Switch House adds a huge variety of new types of galleries and performance spaces to Tate Modern’s already extensive volume, allowing the curatorial staff almost complete freedom in displaying art. The chain-mail brick façade is a completely new invention which allows the museum to bridge the gap between the contextual and the iconic.

This has been a project of immense complexity and ingenuity, certainly on a level far beyond the projects in our patch in south-east London. It has come under close global scrutiny, and Herzog & de Meuron will gain much recognition from it. The jury felt, therefore, that it would be highly appropriate to recognise the skill and dedication of the project architect, John O’Mara, who ran the project from its inception and who might otherwise remain largely anonymous.

Region London · Location London · Client Tate · Contractor Mace Group · Structural engineer Ramboll UK · Completed June 2016 · Area 23,600m² · Cost Undisclosed

Leicester Cathedral’s Richard III Project ‘With Dignity and Honour’ by van Heyningen & Haward Architects

Leicester cathedral' 1265 thom chesshyre pressimage 4

Leicester cathedral’ 1265 thom chesshyre pressimage 4

Source: Tom Chesshyre

The architect was originally appointed to reorder the Grade II*-listed cathedral in 2008 but, following the discovery of Richard III’s body under a nearby car park in 2012, the brief was radically amended to include a new memorial. 

The work carried out throughout the cathedral shows subtle but extremely high-quality detailed design, coupled with diligent supervision of top-notch workmanship. 

The design of the new altar subtly invites different readings. Its carved alabaster form successfully represents both ‘sacrificial’ altar block and ‘memorial’ table cloth, and the final design incorporates both meanings perfectly. Behind it, the new tomb is a simple composition of two beautiful stones. 

Charles Nicholson’s elaborately carved 1927 chapter stalls have been imaginatively reused to screen the newly created rear chapel. 

Throughout, the architect has demonstrated minute care and attention to detail. The dedication and enthusiasm shown by the project architect, Josh McCosh, has earned him the RIBA East Midlands Project Architect of the Year Award. The result is finely judged, and bears very close scrutiny, as well as adding meaningful new layers to a thousand-year-old story. 

Region East Midlands · Location Leicester · Client Leicester Cathedral · Contractor Fairhurst Ward Abbotts · Structural engineer Price & Myers · Completed March 2015 · Area 1,369m² · Cost Undisclosed

Liverpool Philharmonic by Caruso St John Architects

Liverpool Philharmonic PressImage Helene Binet 1

Liverpool Philharmonic PressImage Helene Binet 1

Source: Helene Binet

This Grade II*-listed auditorium building, designed by Herbert Rowse and opened in 1939, has undergone a thoughtful, sensitive and welcome restoration. It is an exemplary restoration in which the detail has all been carefully researched and beautifully crafted. It also resolves the building’s deficiencies in a manner you feel Rowse would have enthusiastically approved. Though the extension is prosaic, it provides all the necessary additional accommodation in a useful and easily managed new building.

The design addresses how a new creative force can contribute to the cultural value of what is there. An unusual skill and some wit are needed to attach variations set by the theme of the original. A positive ambiguity is achieved in which a joy in the confidence of the new grows from an appreciation of the original ideas, rather than a criticism of them. It is both an elaboration and an amplification achieved with subtlety and confidence. 

Region North West · Location Liverpool · Client Royal Liverpool Philharmonic · Contractor Gilbert Ash · Structural engineer Price & Myers · Completed October 2015 · Area 6,800m² · Cost Undisclosed

Remembrance Centre, National Memorial Arboretum by Glenn Howells Architects

Remembrance centre,  1076 rob parrish pressimage 4

Remembrance centre, 1076 rob parrish pressimage 4

Source: Rob Parrish

The building rises to the challenge of unifying an existing chapel, a former visitor centre and external spaces and gardens. It addresses the Armed Forces Memorial in a powerful way. 

A well-proportioned, Neoclassical façade projects the appropriate level of gravitas associated with a building of such importance. A continuous projecting roof edge along the main façade is both elegant and practical. It separates the building from the car park and creates a strong sense of movement from light to dark – to a space filled with memories.

The palette of materials is coherent and the harmony of tones and textures is consistent. Filled with light and air, the internal spaces flow freely as a counterpoise to the structure’s regularity. The project leaves an imposing but not intimidating impression. Every member of the judging panel was visibly moved. 

Region West Midlands · Location Alrewas · Client National Memorial Arboretum · Contractor Stepnell · Structural engineer Techniker · Completed October 2016 · Area 2,800m² · Cost £9.9 million · Cost per m² £3,537 

Live Works by Flanagan Lawrence

Live works 1089 jill tate pressimage 5

Live works 1089 jill tate pressimage 5

Source: Jill Tate

Not only does Live Works secure the commercial future of a nationally significant charitable theatre company, it also delivers an impressively controlled and coherent city intervention. The result is a mixed-use city‑centre development that preserves the historic quayside grain while providing Newcastle with a new type of engaging, informal and inhabited public space.

The development is made up of three key elements: new commercial office space; the refurbished and repurposed Grade II-listed almshouses; and a new public space that focuses on an outdoor stage. The proposals have been delivered with a high level of sensitivity. The urban intervention enhances the historic quayside grain of burgher and medieval plots while engaging and reinstating the historic chares, a unique characteristic of Newcastle Quayside.

The repurposing of the listed almshouses as an educational resource for literacy will have a powerful impact on visitors for years to come.

Region North East · Location Newcastle upon Tyne · Client Live Theatre · Technical delivery Tench Maddison Ash Architects · Contractor Brims Construction · Structural engineer CK21 · Completed September 2016 · Area 1,900m² · Cost £5.5 million · Cost per m² £2,895

Warwick Hall Community Centre by Acanthus Clews Architects

Acanthus clews warwick hall32

Acanthus clews warwick hall32

This impressively well considered major extension and intervention within the curtilage of the Grade I-listed church of St John the Baptist, in Burford, Oxfordshire, creates much-needed community facilities, which were constrained within the existing building. The extension is to Grade II-listed Warwick Hall and the adjoining Grade II*-listed almshouses. The well-considered interventions and details work with the sensitive restoration and repair, revealing earlier uses of the retained and restored Warwick Hall. Intelligent client commissioning has resulted in a vibrant and bold community facility enabling wider engagement with a meaningful work of architecture. 

At an early stage, analysis was undertaken to understand the significance and value of the existing built fabric so this could inform the design. This not only minimised harm, but informed the designing-in of added value to enrich users’ experience of the historic context through the clever additions of new elements. 

Region South · Location Burford · Client St John the Baptist Church, Burford · Contractor Edgar Taylor · Structural engineer Price & Myers · Completed September 2016 · Area 941m² · Cost £3.1 million · Cost per m² £3,294

The British Museum World Conservation and Exhibitions Centre by Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners

The british museum w 1438 joas souza pressimage 2

The british museum w 1438 joas souza pressimage 2

Source: Joas Souza

The World Conservation and Exhibitions Centre is on the north-west corner of the British Museum site in Bloomsbury. It consists of five vertically linked pavilions (one entirely underground), and houses an exhibition gallery, laboratories and conservation studios, storage, and facilities to support the museum’s logistical requirements and loans programme.

This building is the realisation of an extremely complicated brief in terms of spatial challenges, technical requirements, and engineering technologies. Its achievement derives from the elegant and simple way these challenges are met, while maintaining a clear diagram and a refined and rational building enclosure.

The jury felt that the substantial accommodation for curation activities, with demanding constraints on direct light, thermal control and pest prevention, were seamlessly threaded into the overriding diagram and structure with an admirable rigour and clarity.

The jury admired the skill and control the architect demonstrated in realising the client’s enormously complicated and demanding brief while maintaining a rigorous and disciplined plan and an elegant external cladding system. 

Region London · Location London · Client The British Museum · Construction manager Mace · Structural engineer Ramboll · Completed November 2014 · Area 18,000m² · Cost £90 million · Cost per m² £5,000

St Albans Abbey by Richard Griffiths Architects

St albans abbey 1556 richard griffiths pressimage 3

St albans abbey 1556 richard griffiths pressimage 3

Source: Richard Griffiths

Richard Griffiths’ work at St Albans Cathedral and Abbey Church covers a wide range of conservation projects from repair to small-scale interventions. 

This included preserving the deteriorating medieval clunch masonry of the original cloisters and cleaning, conserving and lighting the 13th-century west porches. Griffiths has overseen the conservation of medieval wall paintings as well as exposing the glories of the Lady Chapel, which were concealed under layers of grime built up over hundreds of years. 

Improvements have been made to provide better access throughout the building. These interventions are discreet, particularly at the western entrance, where new ramps lead up to the porches. The nave layout has been altered to allow for better liturgy. All changes are reversible and furniture can be cleverly stacked away to allow for flexibility in use. 

As a body of restoration, repair and sensitive small interventions with an intelligent overseeing approach, this is exemplary conservation work.

Region East · Location St Albans · Client The Cathedral and Abbey Church of St Alban · Contractor Bakers of Danbury · Completed October 2016 · Area 3,500m² · Cost £3.4 million · Cost per m² £971

The Word by FaulknerBrowns Architects

The word 1223 al crow pressimage 4

The word 1223 al crow pressimage 4

Source: Al Crow

Located close to the historic Old Town Hall and St Hilda’s Church in the heart of South Shields, The Word, National Centre for the Written Word, is an outstanding public-sector project culturally, socially and architecturally – and represents a significant stage in the development of the modern public library. The pure form of the building is courageous and a statement of its intent. Moreover, it sits well in the square’s overall masterplan to create a public realm space and encourage people into and through the building.

The grand volumetric quality of the atrium is complemented by intimate human-scale spaces to give experiential contrast and allow the building’s diverse functions to work together.

The attention to detail is superb, particularly for a building of this scale. Every element was considered and designed, from the bespoke bookcases that populate the atrium wall to the joints in the shuttering of the in-situ concrete.

Region North East · Location South Shields · Client South Tyneside Council / Muse Developments · Contractor Bowmer & Kirkland · Structural engineer Curtins Consulting · Completed October 2016 · Area 3,476m² · Cost £13.5 million · Cost per m² £3,884

Command of the Oceans by Baynes and Mitchell Architects

Command of the ocean 1073 hélène binet pressimage 2

Command of the ocean 1073 hélène binet pressimage 2

Source: Helene Binet

This project is a champion for progressive conservation, inventive reuse and adaptation of existing fabric. The striking new visitor entrance, clad in black zinc, knits together the historic fabric to either side. This inventive solution to create a raised entrance with associated ramp won Baynes and Mitchell the architectural competition, and it unlocks the whole plan. 

The scheme’s museum element, which tells the history of the dockyard, is designed around a route that ultimately leads to the hidden timbers of the unknown ship beneath the floorboards. This sense of discovery and the decision to leave the timbers in situ is very powerful.

This project has benefited greatly from an enlightened client which is committed to making the story of the dockyard accessible to the visitor. This has been fully understood by the architect and interpreted in a way to reveal significant features of the historic landscape. 

Region South East · Location Chatham · Client Chatham Historic Dockyard Trust · Contractor Raymond Brown Construction / Fairhurst Ward Abbotts / WW Martin · Structural engineer Price & Myers · Completed May 2016 · Area 2,750m² · Cost £8 million · Cost per m² £2,909

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campus banner

campus banner

The significant drop in the number of projects from this sector recognised in the RIBA National Awards this year reflects how the massive expansion of higher education of recent years has diminished. But ambition and confidence remain apparent in the shortlisted schemes, even when they are adaptations of existing facilities, rather than shiny new research institutes. Magdalen College Library by Wright & Wright, and Stanton Williams’ work at Lincoln College, both in Oxford, are beautiful exercises in marrying heritage to the high contemporary, showing the attention to detail and material with which both these practices are so adept.

Significantly, though, the stand-alone projects here look beyond ivory towers to the world of work: reflecting a shift of focus to post-education employability. While Architype’s elegant Enterprise Centre at UEA wears its contemporary vernacular perhaps a bit too glibly on its sleeve, the civic poise and rational institution-making of Glasgow City Campus, by Reiach and Hall with Michael Laird Architects, make it a top tip for the Stirling Prize. The only surprising omission here is the beautifully assured retrofit by Hawkins\Brown at the Bartlett, which so deftly opens up the building’s footprint. Rob Wilson 

City of Glasgow College, City Campus by Reiach and Hall Architects with Michael Laird Architects

City of glasgow college cathedral street city campus ©keith hunter.jpg

City of glasgow college cathedral street city campus ©keith hunter.jpg

Source: Keith Hunter

The merger of Glasgow’s central, metropolitan and nautical colleges created a super-college, bringing together facilities and teaching previously housed in 11 separate buildings across the city within two new central campuses. City Campus is the second of these large, new buildings. More than 60,000m² in size, it brings together six major faculties in 300 high‑tech classrooms, multipurpose lecture theatres and specialist teaching facilities. 

While the initial impression is of a building of immense scale, also signalling its presence as an important place of learning, its internal spaces are designed to encourage both the formal teaching processes and informal, more chance encounters. The building’s form and materials palette are deliberately restrained to generate something of skill, clarity and elegance, on the grandest scale. 

Region Scotland · Location Glasgow · Client City of Glasgow College · Contractor Sir Robert McAlpine · Structural engineer Arup · Completed August 2016 · Area 60,000m² · Cost £162 million · Cost per m² £2,700

Magdalen College Library by Wright & Wright Architects

Magdalen college lib 1258 dennis gilbert pressimage 3

Magdalen college lib 1258 dennis gilbert pressimage 3

Source: Dennis Gilbert

The project comprises the repair of the Buckler building, along with a new-build semi-subterranean library to expand library facilities to modern standards. The sensitive siting and conception of the new build to create a new entrance and reading rooms as a plinth, mean the college quad is activated, but not dominated, by the new buildings. 

The landscaping is well thought-through and both facilitates full access and invites users to inhabit the space. Inside the building, the carefully detailed oak furniture, book stacks and study areas create a studious atmosphere. The repairs were well measured and undertaken with a light touch so as not to lose the character or patina of age, which are intrinsic to the value of the asset. Clever additions of ventilation above the gutter behind the parapet and thin aerogel insulation to the existing roof allow the passive ventilation strategy to work, with the use of the chimneys as additional vent ducts – a clever but unobtrusive way of improving its environmental credentials.

Region South · Location Oxford · Client Magdalen College, University of Oxford · Contractor Stepnell · Structural engineer Alan Baxter & Associates · Completed March 2016 · Area 1,020m² · Cost Undisclosed 

The Enterprise Centre, University of East Anglia by Architype

The enterprise centr 1131 nick caville pressimage 5

The enterprise centr 1131 nick caville pressimage 5

Source: Nick Caville

This is an ambitious project that set out to be the first Passivhaus office building in the United Kingdom to source low-carbon materials locally and explore the idea of a contemporary vernacular. A lot has been learnt on the way and the learning process has been as important as the end-result. 

The research and experimentation is considerable, from testing the strength of locally grown timber to developing cassette systems for straw thatch that could be fabricated in the winter months when thatching is normally not possible.                  

Internally, the building exudes a sense of calm and freshness, helped by its use of toxin-free materials  but also in the way spaces are handled. One great vista is at first-floor level, where there is a view passing through differently occupied spaces, giving a sense of activity and connectivity between people within the building. 

The centre is a tour de force in the exploration and use of sustainable materials, but it is also a remarkable place to work in and to enjoy.

Region East · Location Norwich · Client Adapt Low Carbon Group and the University of East Anglia · Contractor Morgan Sindall · Structural engineer BDP · Completed June  2015 · Area 3,425m² · Cost £11.6 million · Cost per m² £3,387

The Berrow Foundation Building and New Garden Building, Lincoln College by Stanton Williams

The berrow foundatio 1471 nick hufton pressimage 4

The berrow foundatio 1471 nick hufton pressimage 4

Source: Nick Hufton

For the jury, this was the outstanding building of this year’s awards: a sensitive and intelligent extension of an existing 1905 building within the heart of the tightly packed Lincoln College site. The careful reading and continuation of key lines and balancing of existing Neoclassical features with contemporary ones – to create an unashamedly contemporary but harmonious response in such close context with older buildings – was exceptionally successful and demonstrates what can be achieved if maturely handled. 

A suite of new rooms adds to the college’s facilities alongside the repair and restoration of the existing buildings. The subtle change in the finish of the oak panelling, from old to new, offers a wonderfully rich experience, with the large glazed windows opening at strategic locations to give new views. The treatment of the materials externally through delicate varied tooling of the stone, the flush and recessed glazing and use of reflections to connect with the adjacent buildings is wonderful. 

Region South · Location Oxford · Additional architecturepractice Rodney Melville + Partners · Client Lincoln College, University of Oxford · Contractor Kingerlee · Structural engineer SFK Consulting · Completed April 2015 · Area 625m² · Cost Undisclosed

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health wellbeing banner

health wellbeing banner

Conventional public health projects are nowhere to be seen on this year’s roster. Instead, both Foster + Partner’s Maggie’s Centre and Walters & Cohen Architects’ Buddhist retreat engage with the landscape in the creation of ‘healing’, sanctuary-like spaces, as opposed to the more rigidly programmatic spaces of a hospital or a spa. In consequence the architecture is free to explore a role it would perhaps not be afforded in a larger public project, indulging in richer materials palettes and a little more structural expression. Jon Astbury

Vajrasana Buddhist Retreat Centre by Walters & Cohen Architects

Vajrasana buddhist r 1093 will scott pressimage 2

Vajrasana buddhist r 1093 will scott pressimage 2

Source: Will Scott

This exquisite building is found in the midst of the Suffolk countryside. Although predominantly inward-facing, it connects to the landscape beyond with views from shared communal rooms and bedrooms, much as a monastic settlement might. It is a perfect setting for a Buddhist retreat

The centre is simply conceived as an arrangement of courtyards and rooms, with a subtle but powerfully orchestrated materials palette. Timber-clad living spaces sit around a beautifully landscaped courtyard used for teaching, meditation and relaxation. This is separated from the quieter areas by a walkway that cuts through the building, connecting the entrance to the wider landscape beyond. These quieter courts embrace the shrine room and are enclosed by dark lattice brickwork, skilfully executed to allow light to play over and through the walls. Precast concrete elements are used throughout as framing devices. 

There is a wonderful sense of calm in both the spaces created and the materials used, which is thoroughly appropriate to the building’s use.

Region East · Location Walsham le Willows · Client London Buddhist Centre · Contractor SEH French · Structural engineer Price & Myers · Completed May 2016 · Area 1,210m² · Cost £4.16 million · Cost per m² £3,440

Maggie’s at the Robert Parfett Building by Foster + Partners

Maggie's at the robe 1427 nigel young pressimage 1

Maggie’s at the robe 1427 nigel young pressimage 1

Source: Nigel Young

The building, its setting and its landscape draw you in, make you welcome and invite you to feel – whatever your reason for being here – that you wouldn’t mind spending the rest of your day in a place that is both a home and a sanctuary. It is both practical and straightforward; both a refuge and a joy; both a brilliant constructional system and a work of extraordinary architecture. 

The layout is direct, it accommodates the well-proportioned shared and private spaces that are all discreetly observed from the upper office level, from which the team organise and run the building. The frame is beautifully crafted. A precisely engineered wooden structure repeats with a reassuring rhythm and with an utterly defined delicacy. The light is lovely. It is everywhere – calm, delightful and just right. Above all this is a work of architecture that fulfils every aspect of what it has been asked to do. It was a privilege to visit, and a joy to have seen. 

Region North West · Location Manchester · Client Maggie’s · Contractor Sir Robert McAlpine · Structural engineer Foster + Partners · Completed April 2016 · Area 500m² · Cost Undisclosed

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housing banner

housing banner

Given the continuing bottleneck of supply for new housing, the good spread of winning schemes in this sector is possibly no surprise as practices find new ways to tackle the problem, demonstrating innovation in design but also delivery. 

‘Peak brick’ may have been reached, but we’re still riding along a ridge of fine summits, evidenced by the almost flint-like texture of the Silchester scheme by Haworth Tompkins or the finely made Dujardin Mews scheme by Karakusevic Carson Architects, both in London and both reworking the forms of urban housing. The latter is a council-developed scheme, as is the thoughtful suburban development of Carrowbreck Meadow in Norwich by Hamson Barron Smith, showing how local authorities are beginning to take back control, assuming the role of developer to cut out the middleman in an effort to deliver truly affordable housing. One surprising omission from the list, though, is Ash Sakula Architects’ typology-challenging The Malings in Newcastle.

Expect to see more private rented sector schemes – like Lifschutz Davidson Sandilands’ Paradise Gardens – figuring in RIBA National Awards in the future, as well as more specialist schemes chasing the growing grey pound, with a clutch of Pegasus Life schemes designed by top-flight practices completing soon. Rob Wilson

Derwenthorpe Phase One by Studio Partington

Derwenthorpe phase o 1309 tim crocker pressimage 4

Derwenthorpe phase o 1309 tim crocker pressimage 4

Source: Tim Crocker

This development brings together complex ideas of identity, material sensibilities, public spaces and landscape into a singular harmonious place where the community is the focus and inspiration.

The generosity of the public space extends to the spatial standard of individual houses, with a shared approach to sustainability. Our sustainability assessor identified, after thorough post-occupancy evaluation, that ‘this is a truly sustainable approach from inception to completion, and can only be described as exemplary and what all housing developments should aspire to’.

The commitment and passion demonstrated by the architect over a sustained period is a real testament to the success of the quality and design consistency, which has permeated all levels and continues into the next phases, adopting and evolving the lessons from the past. The jury felt this was an exceptional project, a clear winner of the RIBA Regional Sustainability Award and the Regional Project Architect of the year – a testament to the long-term commitment and dedication towards betterment of community life.

Region Yorkshire · Location York · Client Joseph Rowntree Housing Trust · Contractor David Wilson Homes · Structural engineer Alan Wood & Partners · Completed March 2016 · Area 8,035m² · Cost £8 million · Cost per m² £996

Dujardin Mews by Karakusevic Carson Architects with Maccreanor Lavington

Dujardin mews 1535 mark hadden pressimage 4

Dujardin mews 1535 mark hadden pressimage 4

Source: Max Hadden

Dujardin Mews is the first council-led, social housing delivered by the London Borough of Enfield in 40 years. Forming the first phase of the wider regeneration of Ponders End, it provides replacement homes for residents of the nearby Alma Estate.

The project achieves its ambition to maximise the site while respecting the local townscape, and delivers high-quality, exemplar housing for Enfield and the local community. The housing is laid out as a new street, connecting existing pedestrian flows, and paving the way for new connections. The slim site provoked the rotation of houses on one side of the street so that they are wide and shallow. This has produced an interesting house type which benefits the street by providing variation and a new rhythm. Externally, high-quality brick, carefully considered elevations and clever planning for bikes and bins, makes for an ordered street with a sense of home. Inside, the apartments and houses are generous and well planned, with each room just the size it needs to be.

Region London · Location London · Client London Borough of Enfield · Contractor Durkan · Structural engineer Peter Brett Associates · Completed February 2017 · Area 3,638m² · Cost £7.7 million · Cost per m² £2,117

Silchester by Haworth Tompkins

Silchester 1477 philip vile pressimage 5

Silchester 1477 philip vile pressimage 5

Haworth Tompkins has delivered a major regeneration project for Peabody, at the edge of the existing Silchester Estate, adjacent to Latimer Road Tube Station.

The brief was to create a development of 112 homes; community spaces and retail facilities; integrate an existing 20-storey tower; and provide private and communal amenity space and a landscaped public realm. All the new residential units are dual aspect and the project is tenure-blind.

A new triangular urban block wraps around a communal garden, with perimeter edges reinforcing the character of the traditional residential street patterns. It has active frontages, animating corners with community spaces and commercial uses. The brick façades are expressive and skilfully detailed, and the new building successfully engages with the existing tower, wrapping it at ground level and providing a new face to the street.

Haworth Tompkins has designed an exemplary residential project on a very challenging site; sensitively engaging with the existing context of the estate and improving the adjacent public realm and railway viaduct. 

Region London · Location London · Client Peabody · Contractor Mace · Structural engineer Conisbee · Completed January 2016 · Area 8,502m² · Cost £26 million · Cost per m² £3,058

Finlays Warehouse by Stephenson Studio

Finlays warehouse 1723 andrew wall pressimage 4

Finlays warehouse 1723 andrew wall pressimage 4

Source: Andrew Wall

This is an extraordinarily clever conversion of a Grade II-listed Victorian warehouse. It manages, without compromise, to retain the sense of its original purpose, but at the same time and with a quiet and understated confidence, makes you feel that its new purpose – a residential building – was somehow imagined and predicted in the original plan. A confident and complete architectural language with exquisite detailing co-exists with a most beautifully complete restoration.

Each of the 21 apartments shares the same generous common areas. Behind a uniform front door of sawn timber set within an almost invisibly discreet frame, are a number of very individual but distinct apartments. Their distinctiveness is not expressed through an architectural language but through a sensitive response to both the building as a whole and their particular location within it.

This is how conversions and restorations ought to be. This is the stuff in which the modesty and practicality of conversion is transformed into architecture.

Region North West · Location Manchester · Client Facetspera · Contractor ARJ Construction · Structuralengineer Grindley Consulting · Completed October 2015 · Area 2,852m² · Cost £2.76 million · Cost per m² £968 

Paradise Gardens by Lifschutz Davidson Sandilands

Paradise gardens 1542 nick guttridge pressimage 5

Paradise gardens 1542 nick guttridge pressimage 5

Source: Nick Guttridge

This development of six houses for the private rental market occupies a former derelict yard between King Street and Ravenscourt Park station, London. The scheme resolves a very tight site, overlooked by neighbours on all sides and adjacent to a listed terrace of houses. 

The houses are entered from a cobbled courtyard, and residents share mature communal gardens. The houses are spatially generous, with light-filled interiors and flexible layouts intended for future adaption and reuse.

The site’s layout is a sophisticated response to these constraints, and is a commendable example of what can be achieved architecturally through simple manipulation of form, the use of robust materials and the sensitive treatment of boundary conditions and landscape.

The architects and client have produced an exquisitely detailed project of a high build quality; one that could provide a benchmark for similar developments across the city.

Region London · Location London · Client Ravenscourt Studios · Contractor Rooff · Structural engineer Haskins Robinson Waters · Completed October 2016 · Area 1,459m² · Cost Undisclosed

Carrowbreck Meadow by Hamson Barron Smith

Carrowbreck meadow 1333 jefferson smith pressimage 4

Carrowbreck meadow 1333 jefferson smith pressimage 4

Source: Jefferson Smith

This project for 14 Passivhaus homes is applauded for setting a new benchmark for local authority housing in the region. It combines a mixed but blind tenure scheme, with 43 per cent affordable housing and Passivhaus certification, together with a layout and design that are above the usual expectation. It has also considered biodiversity carefully and provides woodland paths and an animal haven.

Houses either face on to the road or are in groups of three, with two-storey, pitched-roof buildings flanking one of three storeys, providing a good sense of place. Forms are simple but given variety with single-storey projections providing first-floor terraces to bedrooms. A simple material palette of render and timber boarding is used but applied in different formats, thereby giving a variety of external treatment. 

Internally, the houses have good natural light, and attention has been given to views out. Energy use is being monitored and it appears all expectations are being met. This is an exemplar for more local authorities and developers to follow.

Region East · Location Greater Norwich · Client Broadland Growth · Contractor RG Carter · Structural engineer Hamson Barron Smith · Completed October 2016 · Area 1,548m² · Cost Undisclosed 

Barretts Grove by Amin Taha with Groupwork

Barretts grove 1183 tim soar pressimage 4

Barretts grove 1183 tim soar pressimage 4

Source: Tim Soar

Barretts Grove is a characterful building in a disjointed urban street. Its adjacency to a primary school is a fitting location for a house built with the fairy-tale materials of brick, wood and straw. Inside, the building holds a series of generously proportioned, well-lit apartments, each with a wicker-basket balcony that sticks out proud and far, like a salute to passers-by.

The staggered hit-and-miss brick skin of the façade makes a larger-than-usual pattern, which fits the tallness of the overall building. Wrapping the skin up and over the roof emphasises the simplicity of the building’s form.

Inside, the feeling is of a large house split into many homes; a refreshing change from the cheap finishes and convoluted corridors of many apartment blocks. The apartments are double aspect and each room is a good proportion. Space is used wisely and leftover space is exploited; for example a strip of workspace overlooks the living room in the top maisonette making a small area a delight to inhabit.

Region London · Location London · Client Cobstar · Contractor Ecore Construction · Structural engineer Webb Yates Engineers · Completed May 2016 · Area 635m² · Cost £1.27 million · Cost per m² £2,000

Walmer Yard by Peter Salter and Associates

Walmer yard  1395 hélène binet pressimage 5

Walmer yard 1395 hélène binet pressimage 5

Source: Hélène Binet

Walmer Yard is the first residential scheme by architectural designer and teacher Peter Salter. The project consists of four individual, interlocking houses on the site of a former industrial building in Holland Park. Cast from in-situ concrete and structured around an elliptical stairwell, each of the houses sits around an intimate timber-lined courtyard, perceived as an interior room and raised from the street above a basement parking level.

The structure and materials are skilfully employed to create a series of crafted rooms, precisely tuned to domestic uses, while delicate façades offer a shifting relationship between the private realm of the interior and the communal spaces of courtyard. This is a highly intimate and atmospheric series of spaces, animated by skilful manipulation of plan and section, the ordering of materials and the control of natural light.

The project has extraordinary qualities as a work of experimental architecture, offering an ambitious alternative to contemporary models of inhabitation and dense urban living. 

Region London · Location London · Client Ranova · Additional architects Mole Architects, John Comparelli Architects · Contractor Shaw Building Group · Structural engineer Parmerbrook · Completed February 2017 · Area 843m² · Cost Undisclosed

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infrastructure banner

infrastructure banner

The UK is poised for a rush of new infrastructure projects in the not-too-distant future – from Crossrail and HS2 to Calatrava’s Greenwich transformation and Hinkley Point C. The lone winner this year, however, is at the more modest end of the spectrum, a Biomass Plant occupying the site of Sheffield’s Tinsley Towers, demolished in 2008. Drawing on the history of the Lower Don Valley’s black steel mills and featuring a striking orange boiler room, the facility manages to make room for architectural expression within an unforgiving brief. With four projects shortlisted across a range of sectors in the RIBA’s Regional Awards, BDP continues its strong performance. Jon Astbury

Blackburn Meadows Biomass by BDP

Blackburn meadows bi 1236 paul karalius pressimage 2

Blackburn meadows bi 1236 paul karalius pressimage 2

Source: Paul Karalius

The site of the Blackburn Meadows Biomass was sure to be a challenge for any project, responding to memories of the iconic, 76m-high Tinsley Towers, which stood from 1921 till 2008 and had become a visual symbol of past industrial heritage and the legacy of the industrial revolution of the earlier 20th century. 

The design team describes its scheme as ‘a striking new landmark … entering the public consciousness as a marker for the city and a beacon of sustainable energy production’. The striking black and amber volumes make reference to the past industrial heritage with its smut, smoke and glowing burners.

The project provides additional and educational benefits to the local community. Landscaping to the south of the site enhances biodiversity, and £500,000 of funding will contribute towards a permanent piece of public art for the area.

This is a truly sustainable project celebrating past and present and a new icon of 21st-century Sheffield.

Region Yorkshire · Location Sheffield · Client E.ON Energy · Contractor E.ON Energy · Completed September 2015 · Area 20,000m² · Cost Undisclosed


school banner

school banner

A fine crop of arts and science facilities figure here, from the simply but elegantly wrought art and design building at Bedales by Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios to the light-filled laboratory at Dulwich College by Grimshaw. Together with a brace of performance spaces – Eric Parry Architects’ boldly sunken steel pavilion at Wells Cathedral School, and the auditorium in the urbane bulk of Stephenson Studio’s Chetham’s School of Music, with its echoes of 1920s works by Terragni and Mendelsohn – they all show the transformative potential of education spaces. 

State schools are sadly noticeable by their absence, with a funding squeeze meaning the inventiveness and expertise in space-making evidenced here is happening only in the private sector, serving to underline the widening gap in educational opportunity and provision in the UK. Rob Wilson

Stoller Hall, Chetham’s School of Music by Stephenson Studio

Chetham's school of  1696 daniel hopkinson pressimage 1

Chetham’s school of 1696 daniel hopkinson pressimage 1

Source: Daniel Hopkinson

This auditorium is the concluding element of Chetham’s School of Music’s new academy building. As part of an already successful and award-winning larger project, the space was submitted as a distinct and separate project, to be judged on its own merits and detached from its context. It succeeds beautifully.

The judges’ arrival was greeted by a cellist performing on the stage, allowing us to enjoy the clarity of sound from every part of the auditorium. It is a simple room in which the lightest of surface touches both modulates the sound and unifies the space. The complex business of its stage adjustments, the moving of banks of seats and its transformation from acoustic to amplified performance is handled with a confident discretion. The space feels complete in any form. Devoid of gimmicks, it is a space that, for the audience, focuses on the performance, while for the performer it is clearly a pleasure to play in. It’s a beautifully designed room that fulfils every objective of its brief.

Region North West · Location Manchester · Client Chetham’s School of Music · Contractor Sir Robert McAlpine · Structural engineer Price & Myers · Completed September 2016 · Area 2,503m² · Cost £8.7 million · Cost per m² £3,476

Bedales School Art and Design Building by Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios

Bedales school of ar 1611 hufton and crow hufton and crow pressimage 4

Bedales school of ar 1611 hufton and crow hufton and crow pressimage 4

Source: Hufton and Crow

For this scheme, the client purposely restricted the budget, acknowledging economy of means as a lesson in itself. The project process included meaningful student involvement throughout; from inception to selection of the architect and use of spaces, resulting in a very functional building. 

Through the sensitive siting, form and material choice, the building engages in dialogue with adjacent buildings and the landscape. The honesty of the building’s material expression allows users to see how it was put together, chiming with the client’s idea of creating an educational instrument, especially given the school’s interest in ‘hands-on’ construction. 

Playful use of light through layering of lattice screens to façade and external covered areas offers a joyful and varied experience for users and visitors alike. A piece of intelligent client commissioning and great design response.

Region South · Location Petersfield · Client Bedales School · Contractor EW Beard Construction · Structural engineer Andrews Newby · Completed September 2016 · Area 1,439m² · Cost Undisclosed

New music facilities for Wells Cathedral School by Eric Parry Architects

New music facilities 1256 dirk lindner pressimage 5

New music facilities 1256 dirk lindner pressimage 5

Source: Dirk Lindner

Cedars Hall, the new music facility at Wells Cathedral School, is used for the teaching and performance of music. Acoustic requirements dictated the volume of the recital hall, and the design sought to minimise the impact on the listed landscape by partially burying the performance space and employing a set-back clerestory at roof level. 

The building contains a technically excellent recital hall and interconnected spaces for teaching, rehearsing, performing and recording.

Massive recessed glazed screens punctuate the equally massive Cor-ten walls. The choice of Cor-ten steel cladding has proven to be inspired, the material changing in appearance with the daylight, while giving the impression of having always been there.

The building complements its surroundings and sits majestically in the landscape setting.

Region South West & Wessex · Location Wells · Client Wells Cathedral School · Contractor Shaylor Gray · Structural engineer Momentum Consulting Engineers · Completed October 2016 · Area 1,458m² · Cost £6.24 million · Cost per m² £4,280

The Laboratory, Dulwich College by Grimshaw

The laboratory, dulw 1390 daniel shearing pressimage 3

The laboratory, dulw 1390 daniel shearing pressimage 3

Source: Daniel Shearing

The Laboratory is an immaculately detailed science lab for Dulwich College and a virtuoso of finish and precision. It shows that under the right circumstances, this is achievable under a Design and Build contract.

The building balances and complements the impressive 1870s New College by Charles Barry Junior, picking up on the red bricks and beige stone colours in a panelled façade. Sculptor Peter Randall-Page developed the façade’s pattern in a workshop with boys from the school, based on an algorithm found in all branches of science. The result is magnificent and completely appropriate for the site.

An elegant S-plan wraps the science labs around two central communal spaces: the timber panelled hallway containing Shackleton’s boat; and the lecture hall, which operates flexibly with retractable seating. The two spaces continue conceptually through curtain wall glazing, to communal courtyards. The labs themselves are bright and beautiful, with floor-to-ceiling windows affording views across the campus.

This is an enlightened building delivered with technical mastery. 

Region London · Location London · Client Dulwich College · Contractor McLaren Construction · Structural engineer Alan Baxter · Completed July 2016 · Area 4,400m² · Cost £14 million · Cost per m² £3,182

King’s College School by Allies and Morrison

King's college crop nick guttridge pressimage 1

King’s college crop nick guttridge pressimage 1

Source: Nick Guttridge

King’s College School moved to its present Wimbledon site in 1897, and this building is the latest implementation of the school’s development masterplan. It provides new teaching accommodation and improved circulation in this part of the campus.

This is a clearly planned and elegantly detailed addition to what was already an orderly private school site. The project provides new classrooms, offices, a multi-use double-height hall and a linking corridor attached to an existing science block. The new T-shaped brickwork building opens up to a courtyard on one side, and suggests the potential for a future one on the other. Gabled slate and metal-clad roofs not only fit with the surrounding school architecture, but also provide elegant ‘attic’ internal rooms at the top floors, and allow the creation of a chapel-like, timber- lined meeting hall space. Internally, the building excels in its fine detailing.

The thoughtful, composed and formal elevations, decorated in places by applied and delicate steelwork, are clever and highly appropriate to this educational setting.

Region London · Location London · Client King’s College School · Contractor Primus Build · Structural engineer Fluid Structures · Completed March 2016 · Area 1,465m² · Cost Undisclosed 

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workspace banner

workspace banner

The number of award-winners in this sector signals a renewed focus on the workplace as a space that needs to be not just functional but pleasurable and inspirational, given that most people spend large portions of their day there. This is a fine selection of projects, ranging from high-end, high-budget, yet still essentially speculative offices – such as WilkinsonEyre’s impressive 8 Finsbury Circus – to bespoke studio workspaces, such as McGarry-Moon Architects’ highly-crafted Fallahogey Studio, which underline the importance of qualitative experience at work. There are a number of strong retrofit schemes, including Allford Hall Monaghan Morris’s New Scotland Yard and The Loom by Duggan Morris Architects, which draw sensitively on existing buildings and their history, contrasting with new-builds accommodating cutting-edge research, such as Eric Parry’s The Welding Institute and WilkinsonEyre’s Dyson Campus expansion. The emphasis here is on workspaces designed not just to be efficient cocoons, but to create places, providing connections to their contexts or the surrounding city. Rob Wilson

Photography studio for Juergen Teller by 6a Architects

Photography studio f 1627 johan dehlin pressimage 5

Photography studio f 1627 johan dehlin pressimage 5

Source: Johan Dehlin

The project comprises a series of three buildings and gardens, forming a new studio, offices and archive for photographer Juergen Teller. The brief was for a light-filled, flexible, informal and welcoming set of spaces, with a natural flow and sociability.

The building is constrained by a long and narrow industrial plot at the rougher edge of Ladbroke Grove. Its only face nestles between cheap developer housing, an industrial estate and the hinterland of the Westway.

Daylight is introduced through three courtyard gardens, designed by Dan Pearson, and a grid of exquisitely thin concrete beams which march the length of the 60m site. These support north-facing rooflights, which fill the space with an extraordinary filtered light.

Board-marked poured concrete registers the rhythm of the existing brick-built party walls. Two raked concrete stairs brace the studio space – the only interruptions in an open landscape that runs the length of the site.

Detailing throughout is exquisite. The building is sublime and the whole team should be highly commended.

Region London · Location London · Client Juergen Teller · Contractor Harris Calnan · Structural engineer Price & Myers · Completed September 2015 · Area 505m² · Cost Undisclosed

Fallahogey Studio by McGarry-Moon Architects

Fallahogey studio crop adam currie pressimage 3

Fallahogey studio crop adam currie pressimage 3

Source: Adam Currie

Fallahogey Studio, set within the garden of the architects’ award-winning house, is a modestly scaled single form which references local metal-skinned agricultural sheds and outbuildings. It contains a studio space for the growing practice, along with garage and accessible guest suite.

Outside, the building appears almost impenetrable, a casually shuttered concrete base with simple weathered Cor-ten steel pitched roof and gabled form on top. But inside a joyous series of bright, overlapping spaces is revealed. From the generous mid-level arrival space housing cellular rooms, timber stairs lead up to a third-width mezzanine, a meeting space within the open roof volume, dramatically illuminated by glazed gables and a linear roof light. Below, another meeting area overlooks the studio at the lowest level, embedded into the lawn, with spaces articulated by an exposed and pale stained laminated plywood portal structure.

There is a gentle play at work here, in a precisely crafted, confident and delightful building, which provides a series of beautiful spaces for its users, and engages with its site and local context.

Region Northern Ireland · Location Kilrea · Client McGarry-Moon Architects · Contractor Alan Moon Joinery & Building Contractor · Structural engineer Structures 2000 · Completed January 2017 · Area 150m² · Cost £160,000 · Cost per m² £1,067

Dyson Campus Expansion by WilkinsonEyre

Dyson research limited pressimage 1

Dyson research limited pressimage 1

Impeccable and flexible. WilkinsonEyre, having previously designed the Dyson HQ and factory from 1996-1999, completed this phase of construction to provide Dyson’s D9 research and development facilities, a café and sports centre.

These three buildings are the latest additions to the evolving industrial masterplan, creating a town of 3,000 employees with 129 advanced research laboratories and collaborative work spaces for engineers, with student housing planned for the future.

D9 is conceived as a minimal reflective glass pavilion, disappearing into the landscape and offering a mirror to its surroundings and visual security for those working inside. A central atrium brings daylight into the two floors, and the interiors facilitate flexible ways of working, combining desk space with laboratories. 

The attention to all aspects of design detail is inspiring. The staff appear relaxed and to enjoy working in the spaces, and the Hanger sports centre has proved popular, being highly flexible and able to accommodate a range of gatherings.

Region South West & Wessex · Location Malmesbury · Client Dyson · Contractor ISG · Structural engineer Buro Happold Engineering · Completed April 2016 · Area 10,033m² · Cost £42 million · Cost per m² £4,186

Rockvilla, National Theatre of Scotland HQ, Glasgow by Hoskins Architects

Hoskins architects rockvilla 05 (c)dapple photography

Hoskins architects rockvilla 05 (c)dapple photography

Source: Dapple Photography

Set within a disused industrial warehouse in a neglected area of Glasgow, this facility brings together departments of Scotland’s National Theatre previously scattered across several locations. This ‘creative engine room’ for the company will help it fulfil its mission as a focus for the best of theatre in Scotland.

The building’s elevated canal-side setting at the northern edge of Glasgow city centre enables good access while helping to restore life to an area that was once a key transport artery and bustling inner-urban port.

The existing structural frame was retained and reclad to reinforce the industrial aesthetic. A restrained internal palette continues the theme, housing a double-height atrium/social space, rehearsal spaces, offices and meeting rooms.

Region Scotland · Location Glasgow · Client National Theatre of Scotland · Contractor Luddon Construction · Structural engineer Woolgar Hunter · Completed November 2016 · Area 3,675m²  · Cost £4.9 million · Cost per m² £1,333

40 Chancery Lane by Bennetts Associates

40 chancery lane 1063 allan crow pressimage 2

40 chancery lane 1063 allan crow pressimage 2

Source: Allan Crow

The building is on a large corner site close to London’s Chancery Lane station. Several dilapidated structures were replaced with a U-shaped series of connected office blocks, surrounding a rear courtyard.

This development is elegantly composed to draw upon the area’s urban character and retain an existing building on Took’s Court. A small, publicly accessible courtyard, reached from Chancery Lane, provides a welcome lung in this dense urban location. The space is attractively landscaped and its connection to a secondary entrance to the office building and restaurant space on Chancery Lane ensures the courtyard has meaning and purpose.

The jury admired the elegant travertine-clad façade and appreciated the way the scale reduced on Cursitor Street. 

This is an extremely well-considered and resolved development, responding and exploiting the complex nature of the mix of uses, the courtyard space, and the retained building, while realising an elegant design and a sustainable solution.

Region London · Location London · Client Derwent London · Contractor Morgan Sindall · Structural engineer AKT II · Completed January 2017 · Area 13,156m² · Cost Undisclosed

The Loom by Duggan Morris Architects

The loom 1244 jack hobhouse pressimage 1

The loom 1244 jack hobhouse pressimage 1

Source: Jack hobhouse

The building is in Whitechapel, east London, and was originally designed for storing wool. It forms part of the emerging Goodmans Fields masterplan, which encourages start-ups, together with bars and cafés, to promote a new creative quarter.

The scheme provides a range of work spaces and seeks to reveal the building’s history, while also introducing carefully crafted interventions. 

The reconfigured layout has a new entrance to the west on Gowers Walk, making a connection with Goodmans Fields. This connection includes the office reception and a public café, admired by the jury for providing greater public permeability. The entrance enjoys a generous opening in the existing façade and is lit by an atrium space in the centre of the building, providing space and light to the circulation on the upper floors.

The jury appreciated the clear and simple layout of the typical floors. The detailing is beautifully executed. The project delivers an attractive work space, while also celebrating the building’s history in a meaningful way.

Region London · Location London · Client Helical · Contractor Paragon · Structural engineer Heyne Tillet Steel · Completed July 2016 · Area 10,219m² · Cost £9.5 million · Cost per m² £930

Wolfson Tree Management Centre by Invisible Studio

Westonbirt tree mana 1604 andy matthews pressimage 2

Westonbirt tree mana 1604 andy matthews pressimage 2

Source: Andy Matthews

This entry consists of two buildings at the National Arboretum in Gloucestershire, built under architect and client supervision by volunteers and trainee carpenters.

The carbon footprint has been kept to a minimum by using locally sourced timber to both form the structure and clad the two buildings. The 35 x 20m machine shed is for tractors and agricultural equipment while the mess room contains communal staff facilities. 

Seven giant, hand-made trusses form the roof structure, the bottom string of each fashioned from a single tree. These trusses allow for a column-free space, essential for the easy manoeuvring of tractors and equipment.

The judges were impressed by subtle but thoughtful decisions, such as bending the barn roof of the mess room to allow the morning sun to hit the concrete forecourt of the machine shed. 

Designed to a tight budget, these buildings demonstrate that locally sourced materials can be used to reduce the environmental impact of the built environment as well as cutting construction costs.

Region South West & Wessex · Location Tetbury · Client Forestry Commission · Contractor Carpenter Oak & Woodland / Perchard & Co · Structural engineer Buro Happold · Completed April 2016 · Area 700m² · Cost £328,000 · Cost per m² £469 

The Welding Institute by Eric Parry Architects

The welding institut 1316 dirk lindner press image 2

The welding institut 1316 dirk lindner press image 2

Source: Dirk Lindner

The Welding Institute (TWI) is a world-leading organisation and this is a large building with a scale that successfully mediates with its context. 

The three individual buildings have varying roof heights and profiles, cleverly acting as foils to each other. What physically ties them together is an internal street, which also docks into the original TWI building, bringing together new and old accommodation. 

Externally the building has a treatment that is both calm and joyous. The two office buildings are grass-bounded up to internal worktop height, concealing any under-worktop clutter from outside. An outer glazed screen aesthetically unifies this lower level. Above the ground floor and throughout the third building, walls are clad in multicoloured terracotta ‘baguette’ tiles. 

It is unusual to see a building of this quality in a business park and it shows that it can be done without excessive cost. The building has an architectural quality commensurate with the extraordinary innovations going on within it.

Region East · Location Cambridge · Client TWI · Contractor SDC · Structural engineer Hoare Lea · Completed February 2015 · Area 20,844m² · Cost £42.5 million · Cost per m² £2,039

New Scotland Yard by Allford Hall Monaghan Morris

New scotland yard 1269 timothy soar pressimage 4

New scotland yard 1269 timothy soar pressimage 4

Source: Timothy Soar

This new headquarters for the Metropolitan Police Service is a remodelling and extension of the historic, stone-clad Curtis Green Building on the Thames Embankment. The core of the architect’s brief was to create flexible and efficient office environments by extending the floor space beyond the original building’s footprint. It was also to make a landmark statement for the nationally important police force.

The new elements manage not to overwhelm the architecture of the historic building, nor indeed the neighbouring Whitehall buildings. The great design skill and excellent judgement of the architect is evident throughout. The elegant, light and modern front extension pavilion is the most public sign of this.

The powerful yet controlled new rear elevation is the most striking and audacious part of the project. It is brilliant, balanced, comfortable and poised, exemplifying what a masterful conversion this project really is.

Region London · Location London · Client Metropolitan Police Service · Contractor BAM · Structural engineer Arup · Completed November 2016 · Area 9,225m² · Cost £58 million · Cost per m² £6,287             

8 Finsbury Circus by WilkinsonEyre

8 finsbury circus 1140 dirk lindner pressimage 5

8 finsbury circus 1140 dirk lindner pressimage 5

Source: Dirk Lindner

The building is an office development in the City of London, on the site of the former River Plate House, Finsbury Circus. It is adjacent to the listed Britannic House by Edwin Lutyens, and links Finsbury Circus to South Place via a dual entrance to both streets.

The plan is generated from the geometry of the crescent. The ground-floor entrance, however, provides a generous route through the building, engaging with the two façades in a different way. The main entrance on Finsbury Circus is symmetrical and in the centre of the façade, whereas the entrance on South Place is asymmetrical and responds to the retained elevation.

The jury felt that the scale, proportions and materials of the new façade on Finsbury Circus showed a simple and clear understanding of the character of the circus as a whole and the Lutyens building it adjoins.

The interiors and exteriors work well, and the architect has cleverly managed an increased scale within the context of the existing Finsbury Circus elevation.

Region London · Location London · Client Mitsubishi Estate London and Stanhope · Contractor Lendlease · Structural engineer Waterman · Completed August 2016 · Area 22,796m² · Cost £68 million · Cost per m² £2,983

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This year’s offering of leisure projects may be greater than 2016’s single entry, but there remain precious few examples of architects grappling with genuine unprogrammed public space, the sole example here being the blank canvas of dRMM’s Hastings Pier, made possible through inspiring community engagement and funding. This championing of seaside resurgence continues with the very different architectural statement of Marks Barfield’s BA i360, while Acme’s Victoria Gate in Leeds is a welcome addition and a raising of the bar for retail architecture. Jon Astbury

Hastings Pier by dRMM Architects

Hastings pier 1312 alex de rijke pressimage 4

Hastings pier 1312 alex de rijke pressimage 4

Source: Alex de Rijke

It has taken a seven-year heroic collaboration to turn a fire-damaged pier in disrepair and decline into a vibrant public space with a palpable sense of ownership. The architects had to write the brief and help raise the budget before redesigning the pier.

Their master-move was to design a strong, community-led and -owned serviced platform, which could accommodate a whole host of uses, from concerts to international markets. The decision not to place any building at the end of the pier is extremely powerful. The large, open space provides a sense of calmness and delight, with a strong connection to the sea and the seafront. 

The visitor centre, which replaces the weakest section of the damaged pier, is a relatively simple cross-laminated timber structure, clad in reclaimed timber salvaged from the original pier. It helps create a strong feeling of place and belonging. 

This project has reinvigorated a historic structure and facilitated a contemporary and appropriate 21st-century use. 

Region South East · Location Hastings and St Leonards · Client Hastings Pier Charity · Contractor Hastings Pier Charity · Structural engineer Ramboll UK · Completed June 2016 · Area 11,720m² · Cost £14.2 million · Cost per m² £1,212

Victoria Gate Arcades by Acme

Victoria gate arcade 1500 jack hobhouse pressimage 2

Victoria gate arcade 1500 jack hobhouse pressimage 2

Source: Jack Hobhouse

Victoria Gate forms a natural extension of Leeds’ Victoria Quarter and retail district, with some of the finest examples of Victorian arcades. The Victoria Gate centre provides a staged transition from the Victorian brick and terracotta-clad building to the new edge defined by the car park’s contemporary pleated façade. The design weaves in a number of narratives relating to 19th-century arcades, with the ‘woven’ façade of the John Lewis referencing the early history of the wool trade through modern geometric patterns.

Victoria Gate responds to the challenges of delivering a successful, large-scale building with a crafted feel, using contemporary methods in developing design through to production. It extends architectural discourse on design and the production of architecture in the digital age. For these reasons the jury felt Victoria Gate was a worthy winner of the Regional Building of the Year Award.

Region Yorkshire · Location Leeds · Client Hammerson · Contractor Sir Robert McAlpine · Structural engineer Waterman Structures · Completed October 2016 · Area 36,700m² · Cost £80.9 million · Cost per m² £2,204

British Airways i360 by Marks Barfield Architects

British airways i360 1455 paul raftery pressimage 4

British airways i360 1455 paul raftery pressimage 4

Source: Paul Raftery

British Airways i360 is the world’s tallest moving observation tower. This award recognises the extraordinary innovation and originality demonstrated by this scheme and the heroic collaboration between architect and engineer. The jury commended the research and the development exhibited in the design of the double curved ‘oblate ellipsoid’ and in the design of what is also the world’s most slender tower, with a height-to-width ratio of more than 40:1. It felt a sense of delight in the way the pod emerges from the bowels of the earth.

The 80-tonne counterweight on a winch in the basement is fascinating to watch as it unwinds while the bubble rises. The logistics involved in the construction, especially the transportation of the parts by barge and the use of the jacking rig to build the tower, was unusual, and fitting to its beachfront location. The observation element is fun to be in, with the freedom to stroll around, sit, or simply gaze at the unfolding views.

Region South East · Location Brighton · Client Brighton i360 · Contractor Hollandia Infra · Structural engineer Jacobs UK · Completed August 2016 · Area 2,037m² · Cost £38 million · Cost per m² £18,655            

The Architects’ Journal is proud to be the professional media partner for the RIBA National Awards and the RIBA Stirling Prize

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