Britain's BEST buildings of 2021 including Tottenham's new stadium
8th September 2021

Britain’s BEST buildings of 2021: From Tottenham’s new 60,000-seat stadium, a floating church, to a house within a water tower… the winners of this year’s RIBA awards

  • The Royal Institute of British Architects today announced the 54 winners of the prestigious RIBA Awards
  • Winners include a house built within a steel water tower in Norfolk and a cancer care centre in Cardiff, Wales
  • A 45-year-old Grade 2 listed furniture factory in Bath which has been transformed into Bath Spa University’s Schools of Art and Design is among the winners

Tottenham Hotspur’s new 60,000-seat stadium and a church floating on an East London barge are among the winners of this year’s 2021 RIBA National Awards for architecture. 

Today, the Royal Institute of British Architects announced the 54 winners of the prestigious awards, which have been presented since 1966 and recognise the UK’s best new buildings. 

The architectural feats include a house built within a steel water tower in Norfolk and a cancer care centre in Cardiff, Wales, that creates an oasis of hope and support for those having to face the diagnosis of cancer.

A number of the buildings awarded in the competition have restored and adapted existing buildings, such as a 45-year-old Grade 2 listed furniture factory in Bath which has been transformed into Bath Spa University’s Schools of Art and Design.

Meanwhile investment in arts and culture has seen the Windermere Jetty Museum, nestled in the heart of the Lake District, become a home for stories of boats and steam. 

Speaking about the winners of the awards, RIBA President Simon Allford said: ‘Ranging from radical, cutting-edge new designs to clever, creative restorations that breathe new life into historic buildings, these projects illustrate the enduring importance and impact of British architecture.’ 

Here is a selection of some of the National Awards winners… 

TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR STADIUM, LONDON, BY POPULOUS: The jury said: ‘The new Tottenham Hotspur Stadium project is a tour de force in stadium design, delivering an unparalleled experience for the multiple users of this collection of buildings. Uniquely, it is located on a high street, helping to embed it in the local community. Inside, the experience for supporters is exceptional as huge volume and expressive structure bring light deep into the stadium. The grass pitch even slides away to reveal an artificial American football pitch beneath, perfect for staging NFL games.’

TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR STADIUM, LONDON, BY POPULOUS: ‘Uniquely, the stadium is located on a high street. Externally, the cladding disguises the numerous requirements of the façade, including fire access, services, and ventilation. The resulting form catches the light delicately with angled panels. Entrances are indicated by large spans of glazing. High quality materials are used throughout.’

FLOATING CHURCH, LONDON, BY DENIZEN WORKS: ‘A barge rather than a building, this mobile community facility occupies and makes use of the city’s underused canal infrastructure. Inside, there is good head height for a canal vessel, providing for a range of functions from cinema to church. The Art Deco theme is continued on the outside through the colour scheme and horizontal stripes. When illuminated from the inside at night, the pop up roof glows like a beacon.’

FLOATING CHURCH, LONDON, BY DENIZEN WORKS: ‘Outside, the concertina roof structure is kinetic, allowing it to lie flat so that the barge can pass under bridges when moving between destinations. Meanwhile, inside a central rooflight oculus creates a pleasant pool of light to the main function area, complemented by the transparent sides of the pop up roof which let in additional daylight. The vessel’s flexibility of uses ensures that it can fulfil its brief to be a vital community asset for the neighbourhoods along the London canal network.’

THE WATER TOWER, NORFOLK, BY TONKIN LIU: ‘The Water Tower is an extraordinary family second home in Norfolk, where a derelict structure has been brought back into viable use. It is situated above and to the north of the local village, down a lane, surrounded by fields. Its prominent position led to concerns from local residents about overlooking and light pollution, and the impact of inhabiting a structure that once provided functional utility to the village but lay dormant as a decaying local landmark.’

THE WATER TOWER, NORFOLK, BY TONKIN LIU: ‘The building is divided into two elements, in Kahn’s terms “served and servant spaces”: accommodation to the north, served by a stair tower to the south. The stair and lift tower has no windows and faces towards the village, resolving the overlooking and light issues. The stair is formed from two layers of CLT, with an interlayer spacer, with balusters reusing reinforcement from the original tank room. It is a delightful helical stair, spiralling within its rectilinear box and lit from a roof light at the top.’

CAMBRIDGE CENTRAL MOSQUE, CAMBRIDGE, BY MARKS BARFIELD ARCHITECTS: ‘This central mosque is able to host 1,000 worshippers masterfully within a low rise, residential neighbourhood, without dominating it. Its presence is clear but modest, considering the size of the mosque relative to the two storey terrace houses around it. This is achieved by setting it back from the street, progressing through the Islamic garden, then gradually increasing in scale to the front portico, atrium with cafe to one side and study centre to the other, through to central ablution areas. The building then rises at the rear to the largest mass of the prayer hall, which shifts in geometry to face Mecca.’

CAMBRIDGE CENTRAL MOSQUE, CAMBRIDGE, BY MARKS BARFIELD ARCHITECTS: ‘The defining internal characteristic of the mosque is the timber ‘trees’ which form the structural support for the roof and the roof lights. The geometry of the trees was developed through work with geometric artist Keith Critchlow, creating the underlying geometry of the mosque. It combines an Islamic ‘the Breath of the Compassionate’ pattern into a structural grid that supports the roof and is then brought to a point at the columns. It is a simple device that combines the structural logic of supporting a large span with few columns and a celebration of the structural material and its decorative possibilities, bringing to mind both Fosters’ Stansted Airport, and King’s College Chapel.’

TINTAGEL CASTLE FOOTBRIDGE FOR ENGLISH HERITAGE, CORNWALL, BY NEY & PARTNERS AND WILLIAM MATTHEWS ASSOCIATES: ‘This new bridge is beautifully executed at all scales, from the way it respects the silhouette of the landforms it abuts, down to the tactile detail of its path, made from slate on edge. Retracing the approximate width and length of the natural land-bridge and castle structures that have long since fallen into the water, the bridge notionally links past with present and physically connects two stranded sections of the castle precinct. With its highly ceremonial presence, articulated in every piece of finely crafted stainless steel, it also allows contemporary visitors to retrace the steps of predecessors who would have passed through this section of the castle to gain entry to the grand hall on the island side.’

MAGGIE’S CARDIFF, CARDIFF, WALES, BY DOW JONES ARCHITECTS: ‘Maggie’s Cardiff is the 19th completed Maggie’s Centre. The Velindre cancer care centre in the north-west suburb of Cardiff is the usual depressing hospital landscape, surrounded by a sea of parking. But of course, the inhospitable medical setting is what the late Maggie Keswick Jencks set out to counter in providing a place where those having to face the diagnosis of cancer can find an oasis of hope and support. “If you look after the carers, the carers can really look after the patients – you create a virtuous circle”, said Charles Jencks. This building occupies an awkward triangular plot at the back of a car park. At first sight, it is at once striking and surprisingly diminutive – but with its orange carapace formed of rusty corrugated sheeting, it stands out from the bleak surroundings.’

MAGGIE’S CARDIFF, CARDIFF, WALES, BY DOW JONES ARCHITECTS: ‘The architects talk about the form reflecting the silhouette of the Welsh hills and the repetitive gables of Valley towns, and the colour referencing the region’s red sandstone or the autumnal colour of bracken on the nearby hills, or the industrial buildings of the Valleys – the vibrant colour zings off the evergreen tree canopy that sits behind the building, offering a perfect backdrop in a sea of drabness.’

MAGGIE’S CARDIFF, CARDIFF, WALES, BY DOW JONES ARCHITECTS: ‘The entrance sits on the southern corner of the plot and offers an open portal. Once within, a small courtyard embraces the visitor, and an immediate transition occurs from the institutional to the domestic – from the hostile to the familiar. The mostly open plan is given order by three ‘freestanding’ timber elements, one containing toilets, another acting as a storage unit of the reception, and a third at the heart of the building is a ‘cwtch’ – a tall, intimate space lit from above, inspired by the big chimneys of the Welsh vernacular. These elements sub-divide the space and take you directly to the central kitchen and dining area common to all Maggie’s centres, offering a recognisable and safe place where we all know how to behave – making a cup of tea or perching on a chair for a chat.’

BATH SCHOOLS OF ART AND DESIGN, BATH SPA UNIVERSITY, BY GRIMSHAW: ‘In 1976 Grimshaw designed a single storey shed, a factory for furniture makers Hermann Miller on an unlikely bucolic riverside site in Bath. Much admired at the time for its hi-tech architectural language, it was subsequently listed grade 2, unusual for the work of a living architect. Then, in 2016, Bath Spa University approached Grimshaw to transform this former industrial building into its schools of art and design. Dramatically improving the building’s energy performance involved carefully detaching, upgrading and reinstalling the buff coloured external cladding panels, and replacing the original single glazing with high performance triple glazed units.’

BATH SCHOOLS OF ART AND DESIGN, BATH SPA UNIVERSITY, BY GRIMSHAW: ‘Inside a full height internal street running from one side of the building to the other provides an organizing nexus, and helps makes sense of the variety of large and small spaces at ground and mezzanine levels required for teaching and research. The interiors are open, calm and uncluttered, like a huge humming machine. All the 1970s structure is painted its original bright yellow. Hoops hanging down from it once supported the building’s simple factory service runs. Now no longer needed for servicing, they wittily provide support to table tops in the open teaching areas.’

WINDERMERE JETTY MUSEUM, LAKE DISTRICT, BY CARMODY GROARKE: ‘Nestling into the eastern shore of Lake Windermere, the Jetty Museum creates a compelling composition of vernacular forms which achieves an unusual reconciliation of the reassuringly familiar with the strikingly contemporary. When seen from the lake its dark shed-like buildings are embedded in the wooded hillside behind, but on arrival, the museum exudes the confident identity of a major cultural institution. The cluster of pitched roof forms successfully breaks down the large scale of the museum, integrating it into its landscape setting. This seemingly picturesque arrangement derives its layout from functional requirements whilst carefully framing views of the lake.’

WINDERMERE JETTY MUSEUM, LAKE DISTRICT, BY CARMODY GROARKE: ‘It is these views, and the experience of the water, which become the main protagonist in the considered and choreographed sequence of the visitors’ route, with the building successfully blurring boundaries between climate controlled galleries, workshops, the wet dock and the lake itself. Learning from older Lakeland buildings, the provision of deeply overhanging eaves creates external rooms, sheltering visitors from the elements. Everything here has been carefully considered as part of the design in terms of visual impact, functional performance, and response to the context and environment.’

WINDERMERE JETTY MUSEUM, LAKE DISTRICT, BY CARMODY GROARKE: ‘From the reuse of the existing wet dock, to the consideration of embodied carbon and longevity in the materials selection; from biodiversity to health and wellbeing; and from sustainable water cycle to careful selection of appropriate building services systems for each different area, sustainable thinking was embedded in the design process holistically and passionately from an early stage and carried through to completion. The building’s important relationship to the lake, and its setting in the Lake District National Park, is reflected in exemplary strategies for water, land use, and ecology.’

IMPERIAL WAR MUSEUMS PAPER STORE, DUXFORD, BY ARCHITYPE: ‘The new archive building at the Imperial War Museum, Duxford, is a weathered steel-clad facility nestled among a collection of important facilities that make up the Duxford Airfield conservation area. It sits peacefully and respectfully at the rear of the site, without detracting from the surrounding buildings, and creates a place for contemplation for those who have donated archival material. The plan is simple, but flexible, allowing for future expansion without compromising on the layout of the existing. Its minimal form, which creates a sculptural object in itself, is also in line with its sustainability credentials; ensuring that heat losses are minimised from additional corners and junctions. The cladding panels represent each year since 1914 and are punched to represent the volume of storage within a particular year, with those of high conflict heavily perforated. Due to the passive design and low requirement for services, minimal penetrations in the facade made this possible.’

KEY WORKER HOUSING, EDDINGTON, CAMBRIDGE, BY STANTON WILLIAMS: ‘Designed and built to be a neighbourhood – not just a place to live – the University of Cambridge’s planners have worked with local groups to design and deliver the elements needed for a community to thrive. This urban approach of ‘loose’ interconnected courtyards is very successful and creates a  series of spaces . With almost no private amenity space in the form of balconies, most external space is communal, either at roof level or ground level, so a resident wanting to enjoy a sunny afternoon is more than likely to bump into a neighbour.’

95 PECKHAM ROAD, LONDON, BY PETER BARBER ARCHITECTS: ’95 Peckham Road is a re-interpretation of the mansion block typology, livening up an otherwise relatively nondescript road in Peckham. The development creates 33 low-cost apartments, with a courtyard behind. There is direct access from the street and courtyard to the lower apartments. There are two additional access cores for the flats at higher level, each core serving three apartments at each level. It is not possible to pass the new block without smiling. The building is the work of an architect who knows how to make housing design a success, but with a sense of humour thrown into the mix. The design is dramatic, with a façade made of different planes, windows not necessarily following any order, and long cantilevered balconies to the rear clad on their sides and undersides with brick. Even if these features are perhaps exaggerated, it is hard not to be inspired by their overall theatricality.’

BLACKFRIARS CIRCUS, LONDON, BY MACCREANOR LAVINGTON: ‘The architect responded to the brief to rejuvenate a semi-derelict brownfield site by creating a sustainable new neighbourhood. Comprising several separate blocks with a number of attractive roof gardens and a 28-storey tower, the scheme restores the urban grain, creating new public realm and welcome breathing space. It thus successfully repairs a large portion of the street, revitalising the area around St George’s Circus. In total, the mixed-use scheme creates 336 new homes, including 56 social rent homes for Southwark Council. It also incorporates two new public spaces within the block and a yard surrounded by units aimed at small enterprises, with a café on the adjacent square.’

JAGUAR LAND ROVER ADVANCED PRODUCT CREATION CENTRE, WARWICKSHIRE, BY BENNETTS ASSOCIATES: ‘The JLR Advanced Product Creation Centre pulls together three different operations under one roof, it is a significant project for Jaguar Land Rover in delivering industry-leading facilities. The project is part of a wider landscaping scheme that connects the new building to the rest of the JLR site, with waterways and a new park providing natural amenities for use by JLR’s employees.’

JAGUAR LAND ROVER ADVANCED PRODUCT CREATION CENTRE, WARWICKSHIRE, BY BENNETTS ASSOCIATES: ‘The materials used in the hard landscaping visually link to the ground floor communal spaces in the building, reinforcing the building’s connection to its surroundings. The building is of such a scale that it is described in urban design terms, with internal streets, bridge links and courtyards. The main entrance and atrium space is a huge top-lit volume animated with walkways at multiple levels, a variety of open plan workspaces at the upper levels and cars, engines, and other Jaguar products at eye level. One can easily imagine this space animated with workers and visitors during a product launch or similar.’

THE STORY OF GARDENING MUSEUM, SOMERSET, BY STONEWOOD DESIGN WITH MARK HOMAS ARCHITECTS AND HENRY FAGAN ENGINEERING: ‘The combination of two concurrent, but previously separate projects, is largely the secret of success at The Story of Gardening. Furthermore, the collaboration of the three lead designers has been seamlessly and harmoniously executed. Designed and fabricated in Cape Town, the Treetop Walkway cannot and should not be seen in isolation. Instead, it is the perfect companion to the museum, providing a fully accessible route from the top of the bluff that borders the historic woodland, through, down and around to the main entrance of the subterranean museum. It also sets up the pared back approach to materials and architectural detail that is seen throughout the project.’

WINDWARD HOUSE, GLOUCESTERSHIRE, BY ALISON BROOKS ARCHITECTS: ‘A small eighteenth century farmhouse on an exceptionally beautiful site, the highest point of Gloucestershire, has been transformed, in a four-phase programme over ten years, into a very special place, both a home and a gallery of Indian and African sculpture. Windward House is a labour of love by client and architect working together with what appears to have been a complete unity of purpose. An art collection might sometimes be a sobering influence on the liveability of a home, but here the overall mood is never didactic or pompous. The house and its contents represent a near perfect amalgam of architecture, landscape, inhabitation and art that is notably poised and elegant as well as being light, fresh and airy. The overall mood is calm and entirely assured. The first phase converted the original farmhouse. On one side three storeys have been united into one complex new space to make a lofty but intimate display room. The house’s original stair remains, linking a series of small rooms and culminating in a suspended landing high up in the ridge.’

WINDWARD HOUSE, GLOUCESTERSHIRE, BY ALISON BROOKS ARCHITECTS: ‘The extension, larger than the original house but clearly subordinate to it, contains a luminous interior. The architect’s distinctive skewed geometries make an architecture of shifted planes in plan, section and elevation. This gives rise to an extraordinarily complex and fully resolved play of solids and voids, and a sense of openness, with carefully considered views in all directions. And yet, underlying the elasticity of the architecture is a strong spatial ordering: the sidelong homage to Mies van der Rohe in the form of delightfully light cruciform steel columns (skewed, of course) is well-founded. As importantly, this carefully calibrated geometrical warping creates a relaxed ambience entirely in tune with the spirit of the project and the place.’

ABERDEEN ART GALLERY BY HOSKINS ARCHITECTS: ‘The redevelopment of this important art gallery is the result of a decade of intensive work by the architects, the gallery team, Aberdeen City Council and various international specialists and stakeholders. It delivers major new exhibition and education spaces, a complete renewal of servicing and environmental control systems, as well as dramatically improved art handling, storage, back of house and study facilities. The result is a spectacular triumph, retaining and enhancing the special character of the original spaces, while making major alterations such as removing the main staircase that blocked the entrance and placing it at the back of the building. The dramatic new glazed roof allows natural light to flood into the Sculpture Court below, and the removal of the staircase creates a welcoming, spacious entrance offering clear views and well-connected public routes into the Cowdray Hall and Remembrance Hall. The design, detailing and materials used respect and repair the existing to create a new and vibrant art gallery that must now be one of the very best in the country.’

ABERDEEN ART GALLERY BY HOSKINS ARCHITECTS: ‘The dramatic new glazed roof allows natural light to flood into the Sculpture Court below, and the removal of the staircase creates a welcoming, spacious entrance offering clear views and well-connected public routes into the Cowdray Hall and Remembrance Hall. The design, detailing and materials used respect and repair the existing to create a new and vibrant art gallery that must now be one of the very best in the country.’

THE OGLESBY CENTRE AT HALLE ST PETER’S, MANCHESTER, BY STEPHENSON HAMILTON RISLEY: ‘Completing the east end of Manchester’s Cutting Room Square, the Oglesby Centre at Hallé St Peter’s is a highly successful and sophisticated piece of urban architecture. Its interior spaces are no less compelling and provide facilities that are transformative for the activities of this major cultural institution. Extending the Grade II listed St Peter’s Church, which was refurbished to provide rehearsal space in 2013, the scheme not only provides essential new facilities for the Hallé, but gives it a public face, greatly expanding opportunities for engagement with the surrounding city. Architecturally, it sits confidently in its urban setting with a presence that exceeds its modest scale and contributes to the life of the adjacent square.’

ROYAL ACADEMY OF ARTS, LONDON, BY DAVID CHIPPERFIELD ARCHITECTS: ‘The project integrates the grade I-listed Royal Academy of Art on Piccadilly to 6 Burlington Gardens, a grade II*-listed building to the north designed in the 1860s as a Senate House for the University of London. The masterplan brief wanted an ideological as well as a physical link, which posed numerous challenges because the two were on different levels and axes, and had different orientations. In addition, the client was reluctant to lose any gallery space to circulation. To unlock the masterplan, the architect has sensitively refurbished key spaces, opened up previously closed-off areas, reactivated zones for the public, and, critically, plotted a new circulation route to connect the Piccadilly and Burlington Gardens entrances. The key strategic interventions were to reassign a brick vaulted corridor previously used for storage, and install a new contemporary insitu concrete covered link bridge to resolve the differences in levels and axes.’

ROYAL ACADEMY OF ARTS, LONDON, BY DAVID CHIPPERFIELD ARCHITECTS: ‘The new link bridge itself creates an engaging journey between exhibits and leaves visitors not only appreciating what’s on display but curious about the buildings themselves and their history. It has also opened up the RA School, integrating their activity into the wider organisation.’

WOODEN ROOF, LONDON, BY TSURATA ARCHITECT: ‘The simplicity of adding a conservatory to a house provides architects with an incredible range of expressive opportunities. Wooden Roof takes this opportunity to a new level of sophistication and elegance. Clear constraints imposed by its grade II listing – limits on the overall height and the need to remain subservient to the main building – has prompted a bespoke contemporary solution that utilises digital manufacturing techniques. The result is a uniquely crafted timber structure that draws on valuable lessons from traditional Japanese joinery.’

CENTRE BUILDING AT THE LONDON SCHOOL OF ECONOMICS (LSE), LONDON, BY ROGERS STIRK HARBOUR & PARTNERS: ‘The Centre Building is conceived as two asymmetrical slab blocks with a shared podium at the heart of the LSE’s campus, one of the last pieces in the university’s redevelopment jigsaw puzzle. Giving the impression of always having been there, it is strongly integrated into its tight urban context. The front entrance addresses the British Library of Political and Economic Science across a much-needed new campus square, while the whole building is in comfortable dialogue with the surrounding streetscape, including the pedestrianized Houghton Street and, through a passage, Grange Court.’

CENTRE FOR CREATIVE LEARNING, FRANCIS HOLLAND SCHOOL, LONDON, BY BDP: ‘Nestled in a tight urban site and bounded by back gardens and the underground, this building replaces a barren courtyard with a lush roof garden sitting on top of a modest library. It knits together various parts of the school as a transient space while creating a destination in itself, much loved by staff and students. Driven by the school’s ambition to provide first-rate wellbeing and creative facilities and by the need to unlock other parts of this tight site, the project is part of a wider masterplan to best utilise every space in this 140-year-old school. The resulting building is a poetic response to the very real challenges of resolving the many demands of both circulation and size.’

WINCESTER CATHEDRAL, SOUTH TRANSEPT EXHIBITION SPACES, BY NICK COX ARCHITECTS WITH METAPHOR METAPHOR: ‘This project encompasses a series of simple and elegant interventions into a nationally important and historic building. The outcome enables better engagement with the cathedral, improved understanding of its heritage and better accessibility for all. With a very restrained palette of metal, wood, and glass, the detailing and quality of the materials used are impressive. The craftsmanship is stunning and worthy of this important setting and it is evident that many elements will improve with age as they gain the patina of use.’

ENGLISH NATIONAL BALLET AT THE MULRYAN CENTRE FOR DANCE, LONDON, BY GLENN HOWELLS ARCHITECTS: ‘As a focal point for the London City Island development, the English National Ballet’s new home delivers on its original mission of providing the highest quality in classical ballet to the widest possible audience. This public-facing, purpose-built facility opens up to a civic square and invites the passers-by in through a ground-floor exhibition and café, which in turn opens up to an atrium that connects to all the levels with a feature stair. The stair entices visitors to explore both the company and the school, encouraging public engagement with the performances taking place in the building’s various rehearsal studios.’

BAYES CENTRE, UNIVERSITY OF EDINBURGH, BY BENNETTS ASSOCIATES: ‘This is the final phase of the University of Edinburgh’s Potterrow development, which was commenced in 2003, and creates a permeable pedestrian environment at ground level with a central courtyard. It is a building for research, business and learning, designed to enable collaboration between different groups of users who are part of the data industry. It is designed around a tiered atrium criss-crossed with various horizontal and vertical links that encourage people to linger and exchange ideas. The building is clad with prefabricated stone panels that match the local stone used for neighbouring buildings, along with polished white precast cladding to reflect sunlight in the courtyard. Landscaped roof terraces allow for spectacular views of the city and surrounding hills. Internally the exposed concrete frame is modified with acoustic baffles and oak finishes providing a sense of warmth.’

THE EGG SHED, ARDISHAID, LOCHGILPHEAD, SCOTLAND, BY OLIVER CHAPMAN ARCHITECTS: ‘The aim of this modest building was to improve the built environment of Ardrishaig’s waterfront, and to increase the tourist offer within the village. It forges new connections by bringing the historic harbour back into the body of the village and re-establishing it as part of a circulatory route (which is still to be completed). It had to deal with site contamination and protection from flooding, which required the foundations to be raised, and flood resistant materials to be used up to a height of 1m above the internal floor level. The simple roof of the existing building has been extended across a new structure, and new walls and roof are clad in red steel, making it clearly visible from a distance. It is robustly detailed, with adaptable internal spaces and an exhibition designed along with the local community. It is an excellent example of how a fairly small architectural intervention can transform an area and open up new possibilities for future development.’

THE HILL HOUSE BOX, HELENSBURGH, BY CARMODY GROARKE: ‘This radical approach to conservation protects Charles Rennie Mackintosh’s Grade ‘A’ listed masterpiece from imminent collapse due to prolonged water damage. It also contains visitor facilities with a reception, café and toilets that previously were uncomfortably housed in the house itself. The new demountable structure and walkway provides an environment for the building to dry out, (an integral part of the conservation process) as well as giving the visitors the opportunity to see the building and its conservation at close quarters, while also attracting under-represented groups and young people to enjoy a very different experience of the historic building and gardens. It is demonstrably successful, both in terms of reducing the dampness, and also in attracting many more people to visit the building. A daring and unconventional approach that has solved a very difficult problem.’

BRIGHTON COLLEGE, THE SCHOOL OF SCIENCE AND SPORT, BY OFFICE FOR METROPOLITAN ARCHITECTURE: ‘The use of science to improve performance in sport is increasingly important. It is apt therefore that this building combines sports and science spaces in a unique fashion, merging both subjects into one linear volume, placed on the edge of the school’s playing fields. The Science department, which includes classrooms, laboratories and a greenhouse, spans out over the sports hall, swimming pool, gym and performance space. The building digs into the site at the northern end and rises to the south where it is supported by pilotis. The angled spine of the building, containing a series of classrooms, runs opposite to the natural slope of the site and provides a bold dynamic form when viewed from the sports field.’

KINGSTON UNIVERSITY LONDON, TOWN HOUSE, BY GRAFTON ARCHITECTS: ‘Of the two ambitious projects from the same client to make the shortlist, the Town House is the more conventional architectural project. It is very accomplished. The challenging brief framed a bold aspiration to design the beating heart for Kingston University within a building worthy of the international stage. Combining two dynamically opposed uses – dance studio and library – the result is both technically and spatially excellent, generating a warm, dynamic energy that truly captures the spirit of learning. Conceptually, the building exploits two key devices: the colonnade and the courtyard. Wrapping the building in a tall colonnade gives it presence on the street, successfully balancing the need to make a landmark statement with the wider need to respond respectfully in size and scale to its context. This objective is further aided by the exquisite detailing of the exposed concrete frame, its language running inside and out, replicated and rotated at each junction but never repeated.’

NORTH STREET, LONDON, BY PETER BARBER ARCHITECTS: ‘Built on the site of a strip of grass separating two roads previously considered unsuitable for development, North Street is a neat island terrace of cottages. Fourteen new dwellings have been designed as single bedroom units to tempt down-sizers from larger units in the adjacent Local Authority housing. Each house has its own front door and entrance courtyard or front garden, which facilitates dual or triple aspect rooms at ground and first floor level. One unit also has the benefit of a roof terrace at first floor level, and two are designed to be fully wheelchair-accessible. The careful massing of the cottages with their hit-and-miss courtyards, keeps them private and avoids unwelcome overlooking to the adjacent buildings.’

THE RAY FARRINGDON, LONDON, BY ALLFORD HALL MONAGHAN MORRIS: ‘The Ray in Farringdon is a bright and fresh contemporary office building that fits effortlessly into its urban context. Its architecture both inside and out responds successfully to its location at the intersection of the busy, broad Farringdon Road flanked by relatively tall buildings, and the much quieter, narrower Ray Street, where the characterful, heritage architecture includes the Coach pub. The primary Farringdon Road elevation, which frames the central, proud main entrance, is exquisitely composed. Strong horizontal banding that indicates the scale of the building within is balanced by vertical brick paneling constructed of many different bonds, colours and textures. This playful use of brickwork echoes the variety found on other buildings in the neighbourhood, bringing vitality and plasticity to the long, formal elevation.’

THE STANDARD, LONDON, BY ORMS: ‘The Standard, a hotel at the junction of Argyle Street and Euston Road opposite the Grade I-listed St Pancras train station, is a beautifully resolved solution to a complex architectural brief. Responding to the open tender process, the architects proposed refurbishing the former Camden council offices, both because it was more sustainable and in recognition of local positive sentiment of familiarity towards the existing building. Their bid was successful and so the concrete frame and loadbearing concrete façade of the original building were retained, beating the RIBA Challenge’s carbon emissions benchmark by 60% and resulting in substantial capital cost savings.’

PROF LORD BHATTACHARYYA BUILDING, UNIVERSITY OF WARWICK, BY CULLINAN STUDIO: ‘This project is of a consistently high standard throughout. The brief for the project was complex in bringing together academic and industry research in the same building together to foster innovation and collaboration. A showcase for pioneering technology and learning, this building is a fantastic example of highly engineered architecture with sustainability credentials that could have achieved BREEAM Outstanding had there not been a conscious and informed decision not to. Despite its large scale this building displays an elegance and lightness of touch, with rigorous detailing at both a micro and macro scale. This building, and its surrounding landscape is the product of a successful relationship between the client, architect, and the wider design team.’

PROF LORD BHATTACHARYYA BUILDING, UNIVERSITY OF WARWICK, BY CULLINAN STUDIO: ‘The arrival to the building is marked by the timber latticed roof structure oversailing the entrance doors. Soft green landscape and seating guide visitors to the entrance, with a large café to one side. This is open to anyone and also opens into the reception foyer. Emphasis is placed on the building entrance being welcoming, in contrast to the traditional science building which would usually be hidden away on the campus. One of the challenges for this project was to bring together multiple facilities that were used to working independently. As many of these facilities carry out highly confidential work, the architect’s challenge was to provide lines of security whilst also creating shared space for collaboration and a building that felt connected. This has been achieved by moving security to different levels and maintaining large open spaces for communal activity.’

THE MALTHOUSE, THE KING’S SCHOOL, CANTERBURY, BY TIM RONALDS ARCHITECTS: ‘The Malt House, a fine example of the 19th century functional tradition in architecture, had been used (and much altered) since the 1960s as a warehouse for car parts. It remained, in large part, intensely atmospheric, offering enormous dramatic possibilities as a ‘found space’.’

THE MALTHOUSE, THE KING’S SCHOOL, CANTERBURY, BY TIM RONALDS ARCHITECTS: ‘Whilst not a listed building, the site is set within a Conservation Area and, given the evident quality of the original fabric, the architects chose to treat the building as if it were listed. The existing façade was reinstated with the use of a single photograph of the original building. This was not, however, a slavish recreation: rather, it respected and adapted the façade to the needs of the interior without succumbing to the trappings of its new function. There is no grandiose entrance canopy – a simple trio of brick arches announces the way in. New brickwork is well matched but not artificially weathered.’

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