Judges praise Cobham Bowers development for appearing smaller than it actually is

Cobham Bowers 1

Source: Phil COofey

Cobham Bowers by Coffey Architects

Coffey Architects’ later living housing community in Surrey has been named as RIBA’s South East Building of the Year 2024.

Judges said they were impressed with how the “buzzy” 53-home Cobham Bowers scheme for developer Pegasus gave the impression of being on a domestic scale despite being quite large.

“The quality of the detailing and the careful handling of materials, from the brickwork through to the rainwater downpipes and the integration of the gardens, are worthy of praise,” the jury panel said.

> Also read: In pictures: Cobham Bowers by Coffey Architects

It was chosen from nine projects handed regional awards at a ceremony on Wednesday said by the judges panel to have revealed how architects can create great places to live by modifying existing homes and building new ones.

Winning schemes included a restoration of a grade II*-listed 16th century house by Taylor Hare Architects and a redevelopment of dilapidated facilities at La Valette Bathing Pools in Guernsey by DLM Architects.

The Hall

Source: Building Narratives

The Hall by Taylor Hare Architects

Five special awards were also handed out including Small Project of the Year for Looking Glass Lodge, a woodland retreat in a natural forest clearing by Michael Kendrick Architects.

Kingston Villa, a family villa next to Richmond Park, earned Fletcher Crane Architects the Project Architect of the Year Award, while the client for Meloy Architecture and Design’s The Mile House, a passivhaus home in West Sussex, was named Client of the Year.

RIBA president Muyiwa Oki said the region’s winning schemes “showcase the true value of quality architecture, and the positive impact it has on people’s lives”. 

The Bathing Pools Peter Landers

Source: Peter Landers

The Bathing Pools by DLM Architects

“While carefully considering the needs of the environment, these truly remarkable places and spaces deliver for communities, for residents, for visitors, and people of all ages up and down the country. 

“They are pinnacles of design excellence, and show what can be achieved when architects and clients collaborate successfully.”

Looking Glass Lodge

Source: Tom Bird

Looking Glass Lodge by Michael Kendrick Architects

Jonathan Stern, the institute’s regional representative for the South East, said the winners proved that “exceptional architecture is truly alive and well in the South East”.

He said: “Truly communal spaces at the bathing pools built into Guernsey’s rocky coast and Erith’s repurposed Carnegie Library on the south bank of the Thames, reinvigorate their communities with their own unique stories unfolding inside, whilst Cobham’s cleverly contextual and communal later-living counterpoints in scale this year’s smallest project - a wonderfully detailed floating forest lodge. 

Kingston Villa Lorenzo Zandri

Source: Lorenzo Zandri

Kingston Villa by Fletcher Crane Architects

“Individual homes, each unique and personal, provide sweeping roofs, exquisitely crafted interiors, and an exceptional passivhaus. All are delightful buildings and very worthy winners.”

RIBA South East Award winners will now be considered for a RIBA National Award, which will be announced on 11 July. 

The shortlist for the RIBA Stirling Prize for the best building of the year will be drawn from the RIBA National Award-winning projects later in the year.

The Mile House MAD

Source: MA+D

The Mile House by Meloy Architecture and Design