The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) has announced the shortlist of six projects competing for the 2017 Stirling Prize, the UK’s most prestigious award for architecture, given to the building “that has made the biggest contribution to the evolution of architecture in a given year.” Selected from the list of national award winners, the finalist buildings range from an elegantly detailed photographer’s studio in west London, to an immense new campus for the City of Glasgow College.
“This year’s shortlisted schemes show exceptionally creative, beautifully considered and carefully detailed buildings that have made every single penny count,” said RIBA President Jane Duncan. “Commissioned at the end of the recession, they are an accolade to a creative profession at the top of its game. Each of these outstanding projects has transformed their local area and delights those who are lucky enough to visit, live, study or work in them.
“This year’s shortlist typifies everything that is special about UK architecture: this is not just a collection of exceptionally well designed buildings but spaces and places of pure beauty, surprise and delight.”
The winner of the Stirling Prize will be announced on October 31st.
Barrett’s Grove / Groupwork + Amin Taha
The judges said: “Barrett’s Grove is a characterful building in a disjointed urban street. Its adjacency to a primary school is a fitting location for a house built with the fairy-tale materials of brick, wood and straw. Inside, the building holds a series of generously proportioned, well-lit apartments; each with a wicker basket balcony that sticks out proud and far, like a salute to passers-by.
The staggered hit-and-miss brick skin of the façade makes a larger-than-usual pattern, which fits the tallness of the overall building. Wrapping the skin up and over the roof, emphasizes the simplicity of the building’s form.
Inside, the feeling is of a large house split into many homes; a refreshing change from the cheap finishes and convoluted corridors of many apartment blocks. The apartments are double aspect and each room is a good proportion. Space is used wisely and left over space is exploited, for example a strip of workspace overlooks the living room in the top maisonette making a small strip of space a delight to inhabit.”
British Museum World Conservation and Exhibitions Centre / Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners
The judges said: “The WCEC building is located on the north-west corner of the British Museum site in Bloomsbury. It consists of five vertically linked pavilions (one of which is located entirely underground),and houses a new exhibition gallery, laboratories and conservation studios, storage, and facilities to support the Museum’ logistical requirements and loans programme.
This building is the realisation of an extremely complicated brief in terms of spatial challenges, technical requirements, and engineering technologies. Its achievement derives from the elegant and simple way these challenges are met, while maintaining a clear and coherent diagram and a refined and rational building enclosure.
The spaces provided for exhibition allow objects of a size and height which would not be possible to exhibit elsewhere in the museum. Objects can be delivered at street level in lorries which are then taken to lower floors by a platform lift that sinks into the ground without disturbing the landscape.
The jury felt that the substantial accommodation for curation activities, with demanding constraints on direct light, thermal control and pest prevention, are seamlessly threaded into the overriding diagram and structure, with an admirable rigour and clarity.
Grander public spaces are accommodated in the main museum, while the new extension provides simple circulation through glass lifts, bridges and glazed lobbies, making the journey through the building clean and enjoyable.
A system of fritted glazed horizontal panels allow controlled light into the building while insuringprotection for the exhibits either on display or within the workshops. This allows curation of preciousartefacts to occur in an environment that maintains access to natural light.
The jury appreciated the way the architects had overcome planning and heritage concerns in relation to the building for new offices which are sunk below ground but grouped around an attractive glass-roofed central space.
Generally the jury admired the skill and control the architects had demonstrated in realising the client’s enormously complicated and demanding brief while maintaining a rigorous and disciplined plan and an elegant external cladding system.”
Command of the Oceans / Baynes and Mitchell Architects
The judges said: “This project is a champion for progressive conservation, inventive re-use and adaptation of existing fabric. The importance of the historic fabric has been clearly understood, which has allowed freedom in other areas to change the circulation and the reading of the buildings to give the whole complex of buildings a new lease of life.
The striking new visitor entrance, clad in black zinc, knits together the historic fabric to either side. The decision to use black cladding rather than a white structure which would match existing, and the decision not to mimic the pitch of the existing roofs, was a bold move in conservation terms and very successful. The modest entrance is immediately obvious to the visitor on arrival in the large car park, which sits above the old mast pond; and yet in certain lights it seems to disappear and becomes very much subservient to the adjacent listed structures. This inventive solution to create a raised entrance with associated ramp won Baynes and Mitchell the architectural competition, and unlocks the whole plan.
The cathedral-like quality of the entrance hall, with its focus on the end view over the dockyard, is very successful. The museum element of the scheme which tells the history of the dockyard is designed around a route which ultimately leads to the hidden timbers of the unknown ship beneath the floorboards. This sense of discovery and the decision to leave the timbers in situ is a very powerful move.
The project is academically rigorous in terms of repairs, reversibility and selection of new materials and is a delightful new addition to the historic dockyard. The project exhibits careful and critical use of appropriate repairs. Successful engagement with specialist craftsmen and sensitive repairs, such as the scarfing of the main timbers in the mast house, adds to the beauty of the refurbished spaces.
Internally, the existing buildings were assessed in terms of their significance and this informed the hierarchy and extent of the new interventions. Baynes and Mitchell have also fully engaged with the impact of the proposals in terms of the archaeology of the site and an appropriate means of responding to the concept of ‘as found’ presentation.
The palette of black metal, blue limestone, board-marked concrete and composite timber has been carefully chosen in response to the strong, industrial language of the historic buildings and landscape.
This project has benefited greatly from an enlightened client who is committed to making the story of the dockyard accessible to the visitor. This deep understanding of the historical significance of this group of buildings has been fully understood by the architect and interpreted in a way to reveal significant features of the historic landscape. This is a Heritage Lottery Funded project and Historic England was closely involved in a very collaborative way.”
City of Glasgow College – City Campus / Reiach & Hall Architects and Michael Laird Architects
The judges said: “The merger of Glasgow’s central, metropolitan and nautical colleges created a super college bringing together facilities and teaching previously housed in 11 separate buildings across the city within two new central campuses. City Campus, more than 60,000m2 in size, is the second of these large new buildings. It brings together six major faculties in 300 high-tech classrooms, multi-purpose lecture theatres and specialist teaching facilities.
While the initial impression of this building is as something of immense scale which also signals its presence as an important place of learning, its internal spaces are designed to encourage both the formal teaching processes which it contains and informal, more chance encounters. The materials palette and form of the building are deliberately restrained to generate something of skill, clarity and elegance, on the grandest scale.
There is an astonishing scale and complexity to the brief for this project and considerable architectural skill is demonstrated in its realisation; not just in resolving the brief, but in the contribution to the city – in massing, composition and the generosity of the public route through the grand stepped atrium space. This architectural skill extends beyond the cityscape through to the detailed care taken in theorganisation of student spaces, encouraging social interaction across disciplines, to the considered approach to materials and detailing.”
Hastings Pier / dRMM Architects
The judges said: “It has taken a seven-year heroic collaboration to turn a smouldering pier in disrepair and decline into a vibrant public space with a palpable sense of ownership. This collaboration has been between the community, the Council, the engineers and the architect and it is the architect’s vision which has been vital throughout to steer the process. After extensive stakeholder consultation, it was clear to dRMM that the pier would be expected to host many different populist scenarios.
Predictably enough, it transpired that it had to be everything to everybody, with an absent owner not responding to the increasingly Dangerous Structure repair requirements, and no rebuild budget available in a run-down seaside town. Lateral thinking was required to make a structurally and socially sustainable project actually happen. The architects had to write the brief and help raise the budget before redesigning the pier.
Their ‘master-move’ and response to this brief was to design a strong, community led/owned serviced platform which could accommodate a whole host of uses, from music concerts, to international markets. ‘In homage to conceptualist Cedric Price, users bring their own architecture to plug in and play.’ This concept is really working in practice and should be commended.
The decision not to place any building at the end of the pier, which is possibly the obvious position to site a building, is an extremely powerful move. The large open space provides a sense of calmness and delight, with a strong connection to the sea and the seafront. The experience of free space and ‘walking on water’ is heightened by the optics of a very beautiful, louvred balustrade design and quality timber deck.
The new visitor centre replacing the weakest section of the damaged pier is a relatively simple CLT structure clad in reclaimed timber which was salvaged from the original fire-damaged pier. This helps to create a strong feeling of place and belonging. It boosts an elevated, rooftop belvedere where locals go for a coffee or cup of soup. It offers adaptable space for events, exhibitions and education. Reclaimed timber deck furniture was designed by dRMM and Hastings & Bexhill Wood Recycling as part of a local employment initiative.
The new pier is not a lonely pier: rather, it is extremely welcoming in its design, with free, open entry to the public. It offers flexibility, material and functional sustainability, and an uninterrupted vista of the natural and built surroundings. This is a Heritage Lottery Funded project and it has become a catalyst for urban regeneration.
From a conservation perspective, this project has reinvigorated a fire-damaged historic structure and facilitated a contemporary and appropriate new 21st century use. The project has been mindful to integrate material from the original pier in the new design, and the process of restoration was used to help train a new generation of craft specialists.”
Photography Studio for Juergen Teller / 6a architects
The judges said: “The project comprises a series of three buildings and gardens to form a new studio,offices and archive for celebrated photographer Juergen Teller. The brief was for a light-filled, flexible, informal and welcoming set of spaces; with a natural flow and sociability.
The project expertly exploits a typically London condition. Constrained by a long and narrow industrial plot at the rougher edge of Ladbroke Grove; its only face nestles between cheap developer housing, an industrial estate and the hinterland of the Westway.
With few views possible out of the linear site, daylight is introduced through three courtyard gardens designed by Dan Pearson, and a grid of exquisitely thin concrete beams which march the length of the 60m site. These support north facing roof lights which fill the space with an extraordinary filtered light.
Board-marked poured concrete registers the rhythm of the existing brick built party walls. Two raked concrete stairs brace the studio space, the only interruptions in an open landscape, which runs the length of the site.
Detailing throughout is exquisite; from the in-situ concrete of the finely formed stairs, to the seamless brass balustrades. Large but delicately beaded timber window frames, add refinement to an otherwise minimal material palette. The building is an exemplar of fabric first and low energy design. The integration of services is expertly handled.
The project is a mature and confident statement of orderliness and precision, whilst also being relaxed and playful. It forms a refined, yet flexible workplace, which is already beginning to act as a setting to prompt and influence on the work of its client.
The building is sublime and the whole team should be highly commended.”
News via RIBA
Milan’s annual furniture fair is not just about furniture. Increasingly, exhibits outside the fairgrounds deal with design in a broader sense. And each year, architects play an important role.
New York-based firm Diller Scofidio + Renfro put together a striking exhibit inside the courtyard of the Palazzo Litta in the city center. Called “Off the Cuff,” the installation is composed of 300 pairs of stuffed Trussardi jeans, linked waist-to-waist and cuff-to-cuff to create a tensile catenary diagrid that acts as a roof canopy over the courtyard.
Another New York firm, SO-IL, teamed up with MINI to create “Breathe.” The installation proposes a resource-conscious approach to shared city living within a compact footprint. A flexible metal frame spanning three levels supports a light-permeable outer skin that has a special coating that filters and neutralizes the air. A roof garden uses vigorous oxygen-producing plants to further improve air quality and the urban microclimate. “Breathe brings its residents into direct contact with their environment. By making living an active experience, the installation encourages visitors to confront our tendency to take resources for granted,” says Ilias Papageorgiou, principal at SO-IL.
RESET is a new stress reduction installation for the workplace. Conceived by Ben van Berkel, founder and principal of Amsterdam-based UNStudio, and Jeff Povlo, founder of social design company SCAPE, together with a multi-disciplinary team of experts that includes neuroscientists, the RESET pod is designed to empower people to deal with stress more effectively. It was exhibited as part of the ‘Joyful Sense at Work’ exhibition within the fairgrounds. UNStudio’s Knowledge Platforms and Product Department are actively engaged in investigations into new ways of working and the role that architecture and design can play in the creation of physically, socially, and psychologically healthy spaces.
Japanese architect Sou Fujimoto created a very architectural piece of furniture for the Italian line Alias, drawing inspiration from the relationship between architectural space and the human body. Called Bookchair, the compact shelving unit incorporates a chair that can be extracted. An object within an object, Bookchair underscores the relationship between humans and books: after choosing a book, the reader can take the chair and sit down to read it.
Swiss architects Herzog & de Meuron recently completed the Feltrinelli Foundation building in the Porta Volta neighborhood of Milan. It served as an exhibition space for Cassina. The iconic Italian brand celebrates its 90th anniversary with a comprehensive display on the second level of the long, narrow building, and its furnishings were spread out across the impressive triangular shaped reading room on the top floor.
After being chosen as the winning city to be designated as the World Design Capital for 2018, Mexico City has revealed the theme of the year-long program of events and installations: Socially Responsible Design.
The announcement was made this week by Design Week Mexico, the country’s leading platform for design and architecture, at the 56th edition of the Salone del Mobile Milan, in collaboration with Abitare magazine.
The theme of Socially Responsible Design was chosen by organizers to reflect “an ambition to promote the role of design and creativity as agents of social and cultural change within the urban context.” With a population that has grown from 5.5 million in 1960 to 22 million today, the Mexican capital is constantly battling the urban challenges associated with rapid urbanization, including housing, mobility and sustainability.
Under this theme, Mexico City will play host to a full slate of world-class exhibitions, conferences, urban interventions and educational projects driven by four key objectives: generating opportunities, empowering civil society, preserving heritage and transforming respectfully. World Design Capital will give those in the design community a chance to voice their thoughts on the ever-changing megacity, and showcase their efforts toward building a more liveable, more international city.
Mexico City was chosen as the 2018 World Design Capital in 2015 following a competitive selection process to find a city to celebrate and showcase the positive use of design as an effective tool for economic, social and cultural development. It will be the first city in the Americas (and the sixth city overall) to hold the title, awarded biannually by the World Design Organization (formerly Icsid, International Council of Soci- eties of Industrial Design), an international non-governmental organization that promotes the profession of industrial design.
“Mexico City has a vibrant design scene, which has gained increased international attention over the last few years,” said Emilio Cabrero, General Director of Design Week Mexico / World Design Capital 2018. “Today, World Design Capital presents an opportunity to challenge and demonstrate our ability to use design solutions to address the social and urban challenges our city is facing. Coinciding with the 10th anniversary of Design Week Mexico, we are determined to create a moment for design professionals, creatives and the general public alike to come together and rethink the role of design in our society in an impactful way.”
An open call for applicants will be launched ahead of the World Design Capital 2018 that will offer up to 50 international design professionals the opportunity to work in Mexico City for a period of three weeks in June 2018. This residency program strives “to open up an international dialogue for participants to work on the practical implementation of projects addressing housing, mobility, public space and sustainability.”
News via Mexico Design Week.
Robert Konieczny + KWK Promes’ National Museum in Szczecin – Dialogue Centre Przełomy has been named the World Building of the Year 2016 as the World Architecture Festival (WAF) in Berlin comes to a close. The project consists of an atmospheric underground museum below an expansive, undulating public plaza, adjacent to Barozzi Veiga’s Mies van der Rohe Award-winning Philharmonic Hall Szczecin.
The National Museum in Szczecin – Dialogue Centre Przelomy is now the ninth project to hold the World Building of the Year title. Last year, the award was given to “The Interlace” by OMA and Buro Ole Scheeren.
Winners of the year’s Future Project, Landscape, and Small Project awards were also announced. Read on to see the winning projects with comments from the jury.
World Building of the Year:
National Museum in Szczecin – Dialogue Centre Przełomy / Robert Konieczny + KWK Promes
The judges, chaired by Sir David Chipperfield, gave the following commendations:
“This project enriches the city and the life of the city. It addresses a site with three histories, pre-World War II, wartime destruction, and post-war development, which left a significant gap in the middle of the city.
“This is a piece of topography as well as a museum. To go underground is to explore the memory and archaeology of the city, while above ground the public face of the building, including its undulating roof, and be interpreted and used in a variety of ways.
“This is a design which addresses the past in an optimistic, poetic and imaginative way.”
Future Project of the Year:
South Melbourne Primary School / Hayball
The school is a new model of vertical school responding to the specific inner-urban context of the developing Fishermans Bend urban renewal area in the city. Accommodating 525 students, the new school will be an integral component of the Montague Precinct within Fisherman’s Bend providing an education and community focus as the area is developed.
WAF’s Future Project super-jury, comprising Kim Nielsen, Ole Scheeren and Coren Sharples selected the project for “the way the space interprets and promotes pedagogy” commending it for the way it connects indoor and outdoor teaching areas and differentiated learning environments. The judges felt the architects overcame the challenges of designing a vertical school, using a central staircase as a point of interaction and as a gathering space.
Small Project of the Year:
ZCB Bamboo Pavilion / Chinese University of Hong Kong School of Architecture
The public event space was built for the Construction Industry Council (CIC)’s Zero Carbon Building (ZCB) in the summer of 2015 in Kowloon Bay, Hong Kong. It is a four-storey-high, 37 metre spanning, bamboo gridshell structure with a usable area of approximately 350m2 and a seating capacity of 200 people, placed in the ZCB Garden Area. It is built from 473 large bamboo poles that are bent onsite to shape the structure and that are hand-tied together with metal wire using techniques based on Cantonese bamboo scaffolding craftsmanship. Recognised by judges as “an excellent architectural outcome” the project was commended as a “brilliant example of cutting edge simulation and modelling combined with delightful traditional craft and skill.”
Landscape of the Year:
Kopupaka Reserve, Auckland, New Zealand / Isthmus
The project is a hybrid park, where a storm water reserve has been combined with an urban park, playground and skate park, all made possible by dovetailing the masterplanning of the streets with the green infrastructure of the 22-hectare reserve. Judges praised the project as “a successful translation of Maori traditions that succeeded in being both poetic and imaginative in its creation of a landscape that captures the soul and nature of the area.”
News and descriptions via WAF.