Reiach and Hall Architects’ Forth Valley College project makes Stirling Prize shortlist

Reiach and Hall Architects' Forth Valley College project makes Stirling Prize shortlist

Images © Reiach and Hall Architects

The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) has named the Falkirk Campus of Forth Valley College on its shortlist revealed for Stirling Prize 2022, the accolade awarded to the UK’s best new building.

Designed by Reiach and Hall Architects, the campus is the final building in a decade long redefinition of the college’s building stock after the two previous successes at Alloa, Stirling, and Falkirk.

Replacing a 1960s building that had reached the end of its useful life on the site adjacent, the new campus buildings hark back to the architecture of the era with long, low slung elevations, intentionally nodding to both the setting and the evolution of Reich and Hall as a practice. Externally, this results in a building made in a honeyed Pietersen Brick, profiled aluminium cladding, and a smattering of corrugated concrete.

Reiach and Hall Architects' Forth Valley College project makes Stirling Prize shortlist

Judges said: “This is a building that knew where it needed money and an architect and client working in harmony to make sure it got it.

“Internally, the building is organised in a grid with courtyards, streets, open learning spaces, and closed classrooms mingling together to create a vibrant learning environment. Educational buildings in Scotland live or die by the quality of the reflected ceiling plan. In this case, you can feel the care that has gone into the coordination of the services and the importance placed on architectural quality through the bespoke ceiling panels developed by the architect and gamely interpreted by the contractor through a number of projects.

“It is clear through the awards on show in the entrance lobby, that this a client focused on excellence, both in education and the buildings that host it, and this leadership is clear in the outcome of the campus. The jury felt that this was evident nowhere more strongly than in the detail or motif that characterises the public circulation spaces of the building where the roof lights that wash the interior with light, are sculpted and lined with a rich ochre acoustic Valchromat and integrated LED lighting strips. This shows a level of care, design, coordination, and craftsmanship that is only evident in projects of this nature through the careful hand of talented architects and the strong leadership of clients with belief in the process.”

Reiach and Hall Architects' Forth Valley College project makes Stirling Prize shortlist

The RIBA Stirling Prize is the UK’s most prestigious architecture award. The award is given to the architect of the building thought to be the most significant of the year for the evolution of architecture and the built environment.

The six buildings contending for the coveted 2022 award include:

  • 100 Liverpool Street By Hopkins Architects
  • Hackney New Primary School and 333 Kingsland Road by Henley Halebrown
  • Orchard Gardens, Elephant Park by Panter Hudspith Architects
  • Sands End Arts and Community Centre by Mæ Architects
  • The New Library, Magdalene College by Niall McLaughlin Architects
Reiach and Hall Architects' Forth Valley College project makes Stirling Prize shortlist

Commenting on the shortlist, RIBA president Simon Allford said: “As we grapple with housing, energy and climate crises, these six projects give cause for optimism, each offering innovative solutions to the challenges of today and the future. From major capital city regeneration programmes to new visions for higher education, they all share the ambition to deliver generous architecture fit for a low-carbon future.

“Four of our shortlisted schemes provide new spaces to interact and learn. These formal and informal settings – schools, colleges and community centres – epitomise how to design for sustained community benefit. They are joined by ambitious new housing developments on compact and complex sites that set a benchmark for investment in high quality, desirable urban homes.

“All six buildings are informed by close consultation and collaboration with clients, contractors and the community. The result: outstanding and welcoming architecture that lifts the spirit of all who engage with it.

Reiach and Hall Architects' Forth Valley College project makes Stirling Prize shortlist

“All six are also underpinned by their understanding of construction’s responsibility to mitigate and adapt to our climate crisis. From the reuse and upgrade of existing buildings to the conscious specification of low-carbon materials and technologies, to the thoughtful design of hybrid, flexible spaces – these schemes consider their environment and give generously to their community.

“In their architects’ attention to detail, and their clients’ determination and commitment, these six projects distinguish themselves and represent the best of UK architecture today. Together they demonstrate the power of exceptional architecture to enhance lives. My congratulations to everyone involved.”

The project team for the Forth Valley College, Falkirk Campus is made up of:

  • Contractor - Balfour Beatty Construction Ltd
  • QS - AECOM
  • Structural engineer - AECOM / Wardell Armstrong
  • M&E engineer - AECOM / KJ Tait Engineers
  • Project manager - AECOM
  • Executive architect - Keppie Design
  • Landscape architect - Horner + Maclennan
Reiach and Hall Architects' Forth Valley College project makes Stirling Prize shortlist

Responding to the announcement, Reiach and Hall said: “We are absolutely delighted that Forth Valley College Falkirk campus has made the shortlist for the RIBA 2022 Stirling Prize.

“This represents the culmination of well over a decade of work for Forth Valley College across three campuses Alloa, RIAS Award 2012, Stirling, RIAS Award 2013 and RIBA National Award 2013.

“Architecture is the result of many people’s and organisation’s skills, ideas and determination. Thanks to all of our own team past and present and to the whole extended design and delivery team, Keppie Design, Balfour Beatty plc, KJ Tait Engineers, AECOM, horner + maclennan landscape architecture.

“We must however pay particular thanks and offer our sincere congratulations to Forth Valley College. As a client, over many years Forth Valley College, brought their own ambition, imagination and energy to bear on the project in pursuit of the best facilities for their students and staff.”

The winner of the 2022 RIBA Stirling Prize will be announced on Thursday 13 October 2022 at RIBA, 66 Portland Place in London.

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