Architect of the Year Awards 2011 winners
Education and sport provided the stiffest competition for this year’s awards, but the list shows there is still strong demand for practices specialising in high-end residential schemes
Learn more about the 2012 Architect of the Year Awards at www.bdonline.co.uk/awards
The Architect of the Year Awards recognise the practices that have completed the most impressive bodies of work within 12 different sectors — offering a vivid snapshot of the state of the profession as it stands today.
In this pre-Olympic year, the sports category was particularly strongly supported, while the capital investment that schools and universities enjoyed prior to the recent public sector cuts was evident from the strength of this year’s education categories.
The housing category was somewhat undersubscribed — inevitable in a year when home building has dropped to its lowest level in a century — but it was clear from the submissions to the one-off house category that there remains a strong client base for architects specialising in the design of high-end residential schemes.
If the winners are sometimes surprising, it is worth remembering that juries are rarely looking for the firm that has built the most but rather for the one that has done the most to shift expectations in its particular field. As the presence of practices like De Matos Ryan and Karakusevic Carson among the winners attests, AYA juries are particularly adept at sniffing out young talent.
For British architects, the past year has been one of the most challenging in BD’s 42-year history but the profession is battling on, making great work across the full range of sectors.
Many congratulations to this year’s winners.
Schüco Gold Award: Stanton Williams
Sponsored by Schüco
The Schüco Gold Award is presented annually to the practice that BD’s editor deems to have made the most significant contribution to British architecture over the past year. The practice is selected from the list of winners in the other Architect of the Year Award categories — this is our award for the “best of the best”.
This year, the Schüco Gold Award was presented to Stanton Williams Architects, in recognition of the fact that the practice has completed not just one but two of the most impressive buildings built in the UK over the past 12 months: a new home for Central St Martins art school in London and the Sainsbury Laboratory in Cambridge.
Few British architects can match Stanton Williams for the range of the work that it has completed over the past 25 years and fewer still have managed to equal its consistent quality. And yet with the buildings it has realised in the past year, this long-established firm has surpassed itself.
Education Architect of the Year (sixth form to university): Stanton Williams
Sponsored by Armstrong
This category proved the most hotly contested of the year but Stanton Williams won through on the merits of the two very substantial recently completed projects.
The £69 million Sainsbury Laboratory at the University of Cambridge brilliantly integrates a world-class suite of laboratories into the grade II listed environment of the university’s Botanic Garden.
Meanwhile, the new £130 million home for Central St Martins represents a major expansion to the Granary building at the heart of the King’s Cross redevelopment area.
Runners-up: BDP, Jestico & Whiles, Hawkins Brown, RMJM, Hopkins Architects, John McAslan & Partners, MJP Architects
Education Architect of the Year (nursery to secondary): Cottrell & Vermeulen
Sponsored by Butler & Young
Source: Tom Cronin
Cottrell & Vermeulen won over the jury with a submission that demonstrated the tireless application of imagination to a range of very different schools.
For Brentwood, an indepen-dent secondary school in Essex, the practice has designed a series of substantial additions which complement the school’s original Victorian buildings.
Meanwhile, in Birmingham it has transformed a 1960s secondary school as part of the BSF programme — the impressive results giving little indication of the challenges that were inherent to that procurement system.
Cottrell & Vermeulen also completed the UK’s first voluntary-aided Hindu school last year. It was drawn up in accordance with Hindu design principles and achieved one of the highest Breeam scores for a school in the UK.
Runners-up: Allford Hall Monaghan Morris, Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios, John McAslan & Partners, Mitchell Taylor Workshop, Erect Architecture, Penoyre & Prasad, Sarah Wigglesworth Architects
Office Architect of the Year: Lifschutz Davidson Sandilands
Sponsored by Davis Langdon
Lifschutz Davidson Sandilands has developed a particular expertise in the design of new office space in some of London’s most sensitive conservation areas.
The firm’s comprehensive redevelopment of an urban block fronting on to Hanover Square addresses a particularly thorny set of problems, requiring the integration of a new Crossrail station and the restoration of existing grade II* listed fabric.
The practice has also secured planning permission for its first office development in the City of London — a £37 million block faced in off-white glazed ceramic, which will stand immediately alongside Lutyens’ Britannic House (see BD Reviews page 14).
Runners-up: Squire & Partners, Allford Hall Monaghan Morris, Kohn Pedersen Fox, Fletcher Priest Architects
Hotel Architect of the Year: Reardon Smith Architects
Sponsored by Unite Modular Solutions
Last year Reardon Smith Architects completed the refurbishment of the Savoy, the largest ever hotel restoration undertaken in London. This £220 million scheme involved work to all guest rooms and public areas, the introduction of an entirely new services infrastructure and the stabilisation of the listed riverfront facade.
Meanwhile, the practice has recently secured planning approval for the conversion of an art-deco building on Balderton Street in Mayfair into a hotel. The scheme integrates a large sculpture of a crouching figure, designed by Antony Gormley, which doubles as an inhabitable hotel room.
Runners-up: EPR Architects, Jestico & Whiles
Housing Architect of the Year: Karakusevic Carson Architects
Sponsored by Duravit
Source: Tim Crocker
The winner of this category was the least established practice on the shortlist, having completed its first major project — the 77-home Claredale development in London’s Bethnal Green - only last year.
However, Karakusevic Carson is rapidly developing a reputation as one of the UK’s most assured housing architects. It is soon to complete two further developments in east London. One of these projects, the eight-storey Bridport Place is among the largest UK housing schemes to date constructed from cross-laminated timber.
Runners-up: S333, Lifschutz Davidson Sandilands, Allford Hall Monaghan Morris, Maccreanor Lavington
One-off House Architect: De Matos Ryan
Sponsored by Duravit
Source: Edmund Sumner
De Matos Ryan has developed an impressive portfolio of substantial residential projects in rural locations.
The Round Tower is a grade II listed folly in Gloucestershire that the practice has restored and extended to create a four-bedroom private house. The addition is largely buried to ensure that the tower maintains a direct relationship with its agricultural setting.
Meanwhile, at Home Farm, a grade II listed house in the Cotswolds, the practice has added to an ensemble of buildings that date back to the 16th century. It has converted an existing barn to provide ancillary guest accommodation and connected the barn and the original house by way of a glazed pavilion.
Runners-up: Adam Richards Architects, Eldridge Smerrin Architects, Duggan Morris Architects, Featherstone Young
Source: Edmund Sumner
Public Building Architect of the Year: Henley Halebrown Rorrison
Sponsored by Butler & Young
Henley Halebrown Rorrison has always been particularly active in the health sector, realising a series of primary care centres within the Lift programme. Schemes like its Akerman Road health centre in south London demonstrate the potential of such programmes to give rise to public buildings of a vivid civic importance.
However, the practice’s work is not restricted to the health sector. In Goole, in East Yorkshire, the firm reused the foundations and steel portal of a redundant 1980s market building to create a new £2.45 million civic centre. The project includes a council chamber, auditorium, workshop and café, while retaining covered space for market traders along the street. The design seeks to forge links between the arts and commerce, tapping into the town’s everyday life to become an integral part of its culture and identity.
Runners-up: Denton Corker Marshall, Hawkins Brown, Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios, Pringle Richards Sharratt
Sports Architect of the Year: Hopkins Architects
Sponsored by Rider Levett Bucknall
Source: Anthony Palmer
In the year prior to London’s Olympic Games, this category was always going to be competitive. In the end, Hopkins won out over Populous — the architect of the main 2012 stadium — because it was able to demonstrate a greater range of work within the sports sector.
Not only has Hopkins recently completed the widely lauded Velodrome but it is on site with two major cricket stadiums in India: a 55,000-seat facility at Pune, outside Mumbai; and a remodelling of an existing stadium at Chepauk in Chennai.
The firm also looks set to refurbish the Herne Hill Velodrome — the last remaining finals venue from the 1948 Olympic Games — replacing the existing dilapidated pavilion with a new building.
Runners-up: Faulkner Brown Architects, S&P, Populous, KSS Design Group
Refurbishment Architect of the Year: Bennetts Associates
Sponsored by Design Prima
Source: Peter Cook
Bennetts Associates has completed refurbishment work to buildings dating from many different eras. For the Royal College of Pathologists it sensitively remodelled the early 19th century fabric of London’s Carlton House Terrace, while for Hampshire County Council it transformed a dilapidated 1960s building into energy-efficient offices.
However, the biggest refurbishment challenge it has faced to date was undoubtedly the commission to remodel the 1930s fabric of the Royal Shakespeare Theatre in Stratford-upon-Avon. Budgeted at £60 million, this project created a new theatre at the heart of the existing grade II* listed complex and radically expanded both the front- and back-of-house facilities.
Runners-up: Malcolm Fraser, Project Orange, Buckley Gray Yeoman, Van Heyningen & Haward
Interior Architect of the Year: David Archer Architects
Sponsored by Geberit
Source: Keith Collie
The jury was particularly impressed by David Archer Architects’ interiors for a series of restaurants and cafés.
At Bicester Village in Oxfordshire, the practice created a branch of Busaba Eathai that exploited the unit’s exceptional 9m floor-to-ceiling height with the introduction of a mezzanine level. Walls were lined in dark stained rattan and the furniture detailed in solid pegged teak.
For client Hieu Trung Bui, the practice has also created the Cây Tre, the first French-Vietnamese café to open in London. The design contains a number of notable features: a long bar formed in black, cracked, glazed volcanic stone, walls lined in sandblasted Douglas-fir timber boards and a floor faced in patterned ceramic tiles and crushed white marble.
De Matos Ryan, BDP, Pringle Brandon. Stiff & Trevillion
Masterplanning Architect of the Year: East Architecture Landscape Urban Design
Sponsored by Aliva
In contrast to the other submissions in this category, East’s entry highlighted the practice’s work in complex existing urban situations where land ownership is fragmented and development is predicated on a mix of public and private funding streams.
The practice demonstrated its expertise not only as a designer but as an intermediary capable of negotiating the conflicting interests of different stakeholders.
Its ongoing work on the masterplan for west Croydon is indicative of this approach, growing out of extensive pre-application discussion with landowners and developing a collective commitment to the creation of an enhanced public realm.
Runners-up: Rick Mather Architects, Studio Egret West, Adam Architecture, Glenn Howells
Public Realm Architect of the Year: Muf Architecture Art
Sponsored by Polyflor
Source: Lewis Jones
Muf has built up a highly distinctive portfolio of public space projects, nearly all in its native east London. The projects particularly impressed the jury for the skill with which they engaged the different constituencies that inhabit this diversely populated part of the capital.
The practice’s recently com-pleted remodelling of the Altab Ali Park in Whitechapel is a case in point, reinstating the footprint of the church which previously stood on the site while making space for a Shaheed Minar monument — a memorial to a 1952 massacre in Bangladesh.
The practice is also unusual for its commitment to the use of temporary interventions as a means of testing future scenarios. Its Making Space in Dalston masterplan represents a particularly successful example of this approach. Having under-taken a series of temporary projects in the area Muf was able to secure funding for seven built projects which included the
Dalston barn and garden.
Runners-up: BDP, East architecture, landscape, urban design, Townshend Landscape Architects, Gillespies
Environmental Excellence Award: Sheppard Robson
Sponsored by the American Hardwood Council
The winner of the inaugural, Environmental Excellence Award particularly impressed the jury with its Lancaster Institute for the Contemporary Arts, the first higher education building — and only the second building ever — to receive a Breeam “outstanding” post-completion rating.
Constructed by Eurban in cross-laminated, responsibly sourced European larch, the project offers a highly robust and flexible environment while producing CO2 emissions of only 10.3kg per sq m. Other features that contributed towards the building’s Outstanding rating include the use of harvested rainwater to flush low water-use sanitary appliances, 75% efficient heat recovery, on-site combined heat and power, extensive cycle provision and a composting system.
The jury admired the fact that Sheppard Robson had succeeded in integrating these innovations into a convincing architectural expression while negotiating a budget of just £1274 per sq m.
Runners-up: Bere Architects, Arup Associates
IE Class of 2011 Scholarship: Cara Shields
Sponsored by the IE Foundation, Madrid
For the first time this year, the six chosen graduates of the Class of 2011 were invited to compete for a fully funded year-long scholarship to the IE School of Architecture & Design in Madrid, to study on a new master’s business programme geared towards starting and managing an architectural firm.
Juan Lago-Novás Domingo, Director of the School, selected Cara Shields of the University of Strathclyde, who developed a project in collaboration with fellow student Marianne Keating for the phased development of a flood-prone village in rural north-west Bangladesh.
The scheme incorporated a disaster-relief building and training centre, arranged around a series of social spaces, entirely constructed from indigenous materials. The pair have since been out to work with the local villagers to design a community centre — incorporating a school, clinic, library and a space where the community can gather, discuss and play — and are currently looking for funding to realise the project. www.stabilisingthedelta.co.uk.
For more information about the scholarship, go to www.ie.edu
Learn more about the 2012 Architect of the Year Awards at www.bdonline.co.uk/awards
2011 awards judges
The Architect of the Year Awards were assessed over three days, with the categories split between three juries as follows:
Sport, Housing, Environmental Excellence, Hotel, Public Realm, Education (6th form to university), Office
Eric Reynolds, Urban Space Management
Andrew Scoones, The Building Centre
Tobias Goevert, Design for London
Graham Haworth, Haworth Tompkins Architect
Waheed Nazir, director of regeneration at Birmingham Council
Interiors, One-off house, Refurbishment, Education (nursery to secondary), Public Building, Masterplanning
Bridget Sawyers, Architecture Centre Network
Terry Perkins, Birmingham City Council
Hank Dittmar, Prince’s Foundation for the Built Environment
Michael Casey, Casey Fierro Architects
Kay Hughes, Olympic Delivery Authority