Pair’s Auckland Tower among four winning projects in the region

Auckland Castle, Tower and Faith Museum_882_Nick Kane_ORIGINAL_5

Source: Nick Kane

Auckland Castle, Tower and Faith Museum by Níall McLaughlin Architects & Purcell

Níall McLaughlin Architects and Purcell’s timber tower in County Durham has been named as RIBA’s North East Building of the Year for 2024. 

The museum was completed in 2019 but has finally picked up the award, which has a five-year window for entries.

Located in the marketplace of the town of Bishop Auckland, it is intended to create a focal point for the historic town and an entrance to its grade I-listed 13th century castle.

Judges described the building, which was inspired by medieval siege towers, as “impressive and enticing”.

The castle itself has also undergone extensive improvements including the restoration of state apartments.

Percy Cottage Elliott Architects

Source: Elliott Architects

Percy Cottage by Elliott Architects

“The ambition of the brief and its thorough execution mark Auckland Castle as a valuable extension to the town, offering visitors and locals moments of amusement, reflection, and education while supporting the longevity of the built heritage,” judges said.

The scheme also picked up the region’s conservation award. It was among four winners of regional awards announced at a ceremony this week, including Elliott Architects’ Alex Maxwell-Davies’ Percy Cottage. The firm’s Alex Maxwell-Davies also won North East Project Architect of the Year.

MAC Trust’s Fire Station Auditorium in Sunderland scooped North East Client of the Year and Raven Tower won North East Small Project of the Year.

Fire Station 1 RIBA

Source: Andrew Heptinstall

Fire Station Auditorium, Sunderland by Flanagan Lawrence Architects with delivery architect Howarth Litchfield

RIBA North East jury chair Emily Posey said: “From Pele Towers to Siege Towers this year’s RIBA North East winners delivered historical conceptual responses to the briefs in varying scales, from small interventions to generous public offerings, heeding the local histories of the area in a playful style. 

“The use of local materials and craftsmanship was a common thread in the projects, demonstrating that well-crafted design can be achieved at any scale. Each project found its own way to add tactility and joyful moments to the architectural experience, enriching their locality whether for visitors, local communities, or domestic life.”

RIBA North East Award 2024 winners will now be considered for the 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.

Raven Tower Neil Denham

Source: Neil Denham