This huge leisure complex, intended to regenerate an area of Southampton, has won Leisure Project of the Year at the AJ Architecture Awards
‘Acme’s sculptural approach elevates what is often a very conventional building type into the centrepiece of a transformative regeneration project for Southampton,’ said the judges.
Skilful urban design, creative investment and joined-up thinking have delivered much more than sum of its parts. Housing a 10-screen multiplex cinema and two dozen restaurants and cafés, this behemoth of a project sits comfortably adjacent to Southampton’s medieval town walls, enhancing and enlivening them with a new public esplanade.
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In a reference to the Pirelli transatlantic cable factory that once occupied the site, the cantilevering multiplex building is clad with curved stainless-steel tubes of varying densities. This outer skin creates a transparency, particularly at night, which contrasts successfully with the building’s solid precast concrete base. Without being overly literal, the effect is an allusive reference to the cruise ships that moor nearby.
Sloping ramps accommodate a 7m level change between the city centre and the site, eliminating a below-grade underpass and creating a pedestrian link between the high street and the waterfront.
A feature fountain combines with thoughtful paving and landscaping to create an inviting 24-hour public realm.
Highly commended: STIHL Treetop Walkway by Glenn Howells Architects
Parametric modelling was used to design this 284m-long steel and timber walkway that has improved accessibility to Westonbirt Arboretum and dramatically increased visitor numbers.
Finalist: Boxpark by BDP
Finalist: British Airways i360 by Marks Barfield Architects
Finalist: Five Acre Barn Bed + Breakfast by Blee Halligan Architects
Five Acre Barn Bed + Breakfast by Blee Halligan Architects
Finalist: Lord’s Warner Stand by Populous
Lord’s Warner Stand by Populous
Source: Morley von Sternberg
Leisure Project of the Year sponsored by