Five Scottish projects named amongst UK’s best new buildings
Five Scottish developments have been recognised with the most rigorous and prestigious awards for new buildings in the UK.
Arcadia Nursery, Dalmunach Distillery, Laurieston Transformational Area, Maggie’s Lanarkshire and West Burn Lane have been announced by the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) as the winners of the 2015 RIBA National Awards for setting the standard for good architecture.
The projects will join a 37-strong list from across the UK to compete for the coveted RIBA Stirling Prize for the UK’s best building of the year.
Modest, low building that gathers a sequence of domestic-scaled spaces. Visitors enter a quiet arrival court, defined by the low brick walls and two lime trees. At once, a sense of dignity and calm is encountered.
Externally each age group’s playroom is clearly identifiable as a welcoming, contemporary domestic form which creates a sense of belonging - a single storey building with a large rooflight links the three pavilions.
Located in a conservation area the scheme consists of six 4 bedroom houses and eight 2-3 bedroom apartments, organised as discrete volumes addressing a series of public and private urban courtyards.
With a plan inspired by the shape of a sheaf of barley, the design is a conscious balance between the honest aesthetics of a crisp modern industrial building and one with a strong sense of place.
201 affordable rented homes in a new layout of streets and mews settings, using a contemporary tenement form and providing a variety of housing types.
The stand-out trend of the 2015 RIBA National Awards is the prevalence of high quality new housing developments. Eight of the 37 award winners are housing projects by developers ranging from large housebuilders and housing associations to smaller bespoke schemes by private investors.
At a time when the lack of decent housing dominates the political agenda, amongst the winning projects are some exceptional examples of well-designed affordable and sustainable new developments. Great examples include the regeneration of over 200 homes on the Gorbals district of Glasgow (Laurieston Transformational Area) and, at the other end of the size scale, an elegant five-storey, 13-home affordable housing block for Peabody in East London (Darbishire Place).
Private housing developments include Richard Rogers’ housing towers on prime London real estate (Neo Bankside), a 45 home canal-side development in west London (Brentford Lock West) and 14 distinctive homes stepping down through a gap in the heart of St Andrews’ old town conservation area (West Burn Lane).
Exceptional education buildings also feature strongly on the winners list. From a small delightful nursery school for the University of Edinburgh (Arcadia Nursery), new state schools (Burntwood School, Ashmount Primary School), an independent school building (Uppingham School Science Centre) and a special needs school building (Alfriston Schoolpool building) to major university buildings (University of Greenwich library building, Manchester Met Student Union), these projects will benefit generations of children, students and staff.
Nine of the RIBA National Award winners are private homes and garden buildings. Ranging from a stone and copper-clad tiny retreat buried in a Wiltshire garden (Myrtle Cottage Garden Studio), to an architect-owned low-energy house on the edge of a Somerset village (Dundon Passivhaus) and a strikingly modern family house in County Down (House at Maghera).
RIBA President Stephen Hodder said: “The RIBA National Awards provide a unique insight into UK construction, investment and design trends.
“The UK is blighted by poor-quality new housing and dilapidated school buildings, so I am delighted that the notable trends amongst this year’s RIBA National Award-winners are the volume of inspiring new housing and education projects.
“I am particularly pleased to award an unprecedented number of housing developments. The innovative spirit of these projects sets them apart from the ubiquitous, uninspiring housing developments being built all over the country. Our award winners show it is possible to build exceptional new housing developments that are profitable, sustainable and desirable places to live.
“Well-designed school buildings have the power to inspire students and teachers. This doesn’t mean every new school needs to be a show-stopper - like Burntwood or Ashmount - but we must ensure that value for money and the best possible design go hand in hand.
“One intriguing design trend is the use of brick, in all its hues (British, Danish), patterns and textures, as the dominant material for many of the award winners. Brick is firmly established in the British psyche as a safe, long-lasting, familiar material. Our award winners have used bricks to great effect – whether to respond contextually, or to imbue their buildings with humanist qualities.
“The admirable aspect shared by every one of our winners is ambition. The combination of ambitious clients, architects, local leaders and a supportive local community leads to great new buildings. All 37 of our RIBA National Award winners should provide inspiration for developers, local authorities and architects alike and will delight generations to come.”
The shortlist for the RIBA Stirling Prize for the UK’s best building of the year will be selected from these winners and announced on Thursday 16 July. The winner of the RIBA Stirling Prize will be announced at a special event on Thursday 15 October in London.
The winners of the 2015 RIBA National Awards will be celebrated at a special event at the Serpentine Pavilion in London on 8 July, generously supported by Marley Eternit.
The other buildings that have won a 2015 RIBA National Award are: