Three Scottish buildings named among UK’s best
The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) has revealed that three Scottish projects are in the running to be named the UK’s best new building of the year.
The City of Glasgow College’s Riverside Campus, the Saunders Centre at The Glasgow Academy and Murphy House in Edinburgh’s Hart Street are among 46 buildings from across the UK recognised with a RIBA National Award.
The shortlist for the coveted RIBA Stirling Prize for the UK’s best building of the year will be drawn from the 46 award-winning buildings.
The Riverside Campus was designed in a joint venture between Michael Laird Architects and Reiach and Hall Architects and is the result of a combination of ideas about the city and the student experience.
RIBA said: “Located at the edge of a major crossing of the River Clyde, the site marks a gateway in the city and projects the College’s importance as a civic institution as well as creating a new memorable landmark on the Glasgow skyline.
“The new buildings are organized around two new civic spaces – a cloistered garden and a grand hall. These convivial, social spaces, encourage students to mix and realize opportunities for blended learning across disciplines, whilst truly engaging in the culture and dynamics of the city.”
Page/Park Architects’ Saunders Centre facility at the Glasgow Academy includes a new 178-seat auditorium, complemented by a generous foyer that wraps around the sculptural elliptical form. On each upper floor, four general teaching labs, together with a sixth year lab, are arranged along a glazed break out and bay-windowed passage overlooking the historic main school.
The project, situated in a sensitive conservation area, required careful negotiation with both the local authority and residents through the process.
RIBA described Murphy House as “a rare example” of construction of a contemporary house within the World Heritage Site of the New Town of Edinburgh. Designed by Richard Murphy for his own use, the house is consequently something of an architectural and environmental experiment.
“It is an essay in how contemporary design might contribute to a historic and particular place in the New Town,” RIBA added.
The project also joins the contemporary Zinc-House near Monikie in Angus in the shortlist for the 2016 RIBA House of the Year Award, the UK’s most prestigious award for a new house or extension.
Zinc House, designed by LJR+H Chartered Architects, was inspired by a collection of abandoned farm sheds on the site. The house is articulated and unified by a continuous roof. Built over one-and-a-half storeys, the house is comprised of four tied elements – carport, garage/office, entrance/court, and house.
Other National Award winners include a children’s hospital in Liverpool with a striking, undulating grass roof (Alder Hey Children’s Hospital), a development of 76 new homes in pastoral Essex that challenges the blight of uninspiring new housing estates by incorporating the character and pattern of the local town (The Avenue), a beautifully-detailed motorway services in the Cotswolds that offers tired motorists a tranquil respite (Gloucester Services), a new shimmering stainless steel library at an Oxford college by the late Zaha Hadid’s firm; and the classy and elegant transformation of a failing secondary and special needs school in south London (ARK All Saints Academy and Highshore School) by the architects of last year’s RIBA Stirling Prize winner.
RIBA said the winners showcased the best of contemporary architecture.
RIBA president Jane Duncan said: “They show that budget, location or many other challenges are no constraints to the production of superb quality architecture as long as you have the commitment of an imaginative and capable architect working with a great client.”
Ms Duncan added: “The RIBA National Awards are a great indicator of UK design, economic and construction trends.
“One stand-out trend from this year’s crop of winners is the huge scale of investment and ambition shown by many of the UK’s universities and colleges.
“As universities and colleges in the UK are competing for students from here and overseas, it is encouraging to see so much emphasis placed on the power of architecture to help institutions to attract students and stand out from the mediocre.
“I am delighted to see that four fantastic school buildings have made the grade too.
“Too many of our school and education buildings are in disrepair; with limited funding available to provide our children and their teachers with great learning spaces, every penny spent on schools must deliver maximum value for money.
“These 46 buildings are what the best architecture looks like today.”
The winners of the 2016 RIBA National Awards are: