RIBA has unveiled the winners of the 2014 Royal Institute of British Architects National Awards. This is the most rigorously-judged awards for architectural excellence. RIBA National Award winning buildings set the standard for good architecture; these are projects that go beyond the brief and exceed the client’s expectation. The shortlist for the coveted RIBA Stirling Prize, sponsored by Brockton Capital, for the best building of the year will be drawn from the 56 RIBA National and EU Award winners (44 buildings in the UK and 12 buildings elsewhere in the EU).
Some of the UK’s best-known new buildings have won an award: the Shard by Renzo Piano, the London Aquatics Centre by Zaha Hadid Architects, the Library of Birmingham by Mecanoo and the redevelopment of Kings Cross Station by John McAslan and Partners. Alongside these big projects, the crop of winners includes a particularly large number of smaller scale projects, for example Ditchling Museum of Art and Craft formed from a village school and barn in Sussex by Adam Richards Architects; the conservation and redesign of the Grade 2 listed Porthmeor Artists’ Studios in St Ives by Long & Kentish Architects and a small private house cut into a cliff on the Isle of Skye by Dualchas Architects.
The stand-out trend of the 2014 RIBA National Awards is the array of high quality, confident public buildings built for communities all over the country. These buildings show that investment in exceptionally well-crafted civic buildings and public spaces can bring together communities, boost pride and revive our cities, towns and villages. Great examples where this is evident amongst the winners include the big and bold Brent Civic Centre and the creation of an elegant new public square and café in Great Yarmouth, both by Hopkins Architects; the delightful and tactile new Everyman Theatre in Liverpool by Haworth Tompkins; the impressive new Mary Rose Museum in Portsmouth by Wilkinson Eyre with Pringle Brandon Perkins+Will and an exciting new crisply-designed youth centre in Lewisham by young architects RCKA.
There are still very few commercial and privately-owned buildings recognised this year, clearly a recession trend. The large number of smaller-scale projects winning awards show architects’ talent to create great architecture even with more modest briefs and budgets.
Speaking today, RIBA President Stephen Hodder said: “This year’s RIBA National Award winners show that exceptional architecture can be found anywhere: on any high street, in any village or town, and with any budget. Good architecture always begins with a committed client and it is extremely heartening to see in this year’s crop of winners, the increasing recognition, notably in the public sector, of the vital role of good design in attracting visitors, students and clients and of the dramatic influence that a beautiful building has on communities and pride. These buildings show the challenges that can be overcome with pure architectural creativity – in the case of the London School of Economics’ student centre, a vertical labyrinth was created to deal with a constricted London site; at the TNG Youth Centre in Lewisham the architect helped find funding to enable the building to happen; and with the Mary Rose Museum in Portsmouth, the design team resolved the most complex brief: strict atmospheric conditions on a historic site. It is evident that each building on this year’s list has been a labour of love but worth every penny and effort.”
The winners of the RIBA National and EU Awards will be celebrated at a special event at the Serpentine Pavilion on 4July, generously hosted by Hiscox, sponsors of the RIBA Manser Medal for the best new home in the UK.
The RIBA Stirling Prize, sponsored by Brockton Capital, is awarded to the architects of the building that has made the greatest contribution to British architecture in the past year. The shortlist will be announced on 17 July 2014 and the prize will be presented on Thursday 16 October in London.
Photo: © P C Robinson Artlyst 2014