2022 RIBA Stirling Prize shortlist offers new visions for a low carbon future

Contesting for the honour of being the UK’s best new constructions, the shortlist presents ‘outstanding and welcoming architecture that lifts the spirit of all who engage with it'.

by STIRworldPublished on : Jul 23, 2022

The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) has revealed the shortlists for the 2022 RIBA Stirling Prize, one of the UK’s most prestigious awards in the field of architecture. With its inception in 1996, it honours every year the architect of the building which best showcases the evolution of architecture and the built environment. A project is carefully judged over a variety of criteria that ranges from factors such as design vision, innovation, originality, the capacity of the project to engage, satisfy and delight its users, and environmental sustainability. This year with its 26th edition, six works selected by an esteemed jury which is composed of names such as Adam Richards, Sarah Featherstone, Steven Hayward, Ruth Butler, and Lisa Mcfarlane, include a housing scheme, a community centre, and an educational project, all in the running for the UK’s best new building.

Speaking of the sensitivity of cause that the works showcase, RIBA President Simon Allford says, “As we grapple with housing, energy, and climate crises, these six projects give cause for optimism, each offering innovative solutions to the challenges of today and the future.” He also adds that while all projects represent a shared vision yet each of them nurtures a unique idea, typology, and context. “From major capital city regeneration programs to new visions for higher education, they all share the ambition to deliver generous architecture fit for a low-carbon future.”

Here are the six shortlisted projects for the 2022 RIBA Stirling Prize:

1. 100 Liverpool Street, London, by Hopkin Architects

  • Refurbishment project, 100 Liverpool Street is built in the heart of London’s financial district | 100 Liverpool Street | Hopkins Architects | STIRworld
    Refurbishment project, 100 Liverpool Street is built in the heart of London’s financial district Image: Charles Hosea
  • Rooftop gardens and green terraces at the upper levels of 100 Liverpool Street | 100 Liverpool Street | Hopkins Architects | STIRworld
    Rooftop gardens and green terraces at the upper levels of 100 Liverpool Street Image: Charles Hosea

100 Liverpool Street by Hopkins Architects is a net zero refurbishment project sitting in the heart of London’s financial district. It seamlessly transforms a 1980s office building into a 21st-century commercial building comprising a suite of offices, and commercial and public spaces. With the refurbishment, three new office floors were added along with green terraces and rooftops while the foundation and original steelwork of the structure were strategically retained. The jury highlighted the project’s approach to “reusing the existing building” and its demonstration of “clear strategic thinking, keeping what could be salvaged, unpicking what could not and adding what was necessary.”

2. Forth Valley College - Falkirk Campus, Scotland, by Reiach and Hall Architects

  • Exterior facade of Falkirk Campus with its long low slung elevation | Reiach and Hall Architects | STIRworld
    Exterior facade of Falkirk Campus with its long low slung elevation Image: Courtesy of Reiach and Hall Architects
  • Diverse reading and studying spaces in the interiors of Falkirk Campuse | Falkirk Campus | Reiach and Hall Architects | STIRworld
    Diverse reading and studying spaces in the interiors of Falkirk Campus Image: Courtesy of Reiach and Hall Architects

When the building of the 1960s on an adjacent site came to an end of its useful life, the new campus created a remembrance of the architecture of the past. With its long low-slung elevations, this project in Scotland by Reiach and Hall Architects marks an end to a decade-long redefinition of the college’s building stock. Designed with the intent to serve as an enriching learning space, three cutting-edge higher education facilities are defined by courtyards, streets, and open classrooms, all organised in a clear grid pattern. With this project, the client and architect focused on the best of both aspects, education as well as architecture.

3. Hackney New Primary School and 333 Kingsland Road, London, by Henley Halebrown

  • Red brick exterior of Hackney Primary School contesting with its height| Hackney New Primary | Henley Halebrown | STIRworld
    The red brick exterior of the Hackney Primary School in London Image: Nick Kane
  • Central courtyard for appropriate light and ventilation inside the Hackney Primary School in London | Hackney New Primary | Henley Halebrown | STIRworld
    Central courtyard for appropriate light and ventilation inside the Hackney Primary School in LondonImage: Nick Kane

Successfully combining affordable housing with a primary school for the fast-growing east London community, the Hackney New Primary School and 333 Kingsland Road designed by Henley Halebrown in the city of London is a red-brick complex that stands out in its context. While sitting in a tight urban neighbourhood, its size and height easily challenges the site, as well as educational and living norms. With a central space courtyard providing for appropriate light and ventilation for the school, the residents enjoy a penthouse-like home. “Hackney New Primary School,” the jury noted, “is an immense sculptural pink brute of a building, punctuating a busy junction on the Kingsland Road with a certain civic pride.” Its architectural elements, it adds, “make this a conceptually rigorous and notable architectural response. “

4. Orchard Gardens, Elephant Park, London, by Panter Hudspith Architects

  • New homes and retail spaces at the Orchard Gardens, Elephant Park  | Orchard Gardens | Panter Hudspith Architect | STIRworld
    New homes and retail spaces at the Orchard Gardens, Elephant Park Image: Enrique Verdugo
  • Orchard Gardens with its playful contrast of heights and scales | Panter Hudspith Architect | STIRworld
    Orchard Gardens with its playful contrast of heights and scales Image: Enrique Verdugo

Orchard Gardens, Elephant Parks by Panter Hudspith Architect present 288 homes and 2500sqm of cultural and retail spaces closely enveloping a central communal garden, creating an entire city block. With a playful contrast of heights and scales ranging from five to 19 storeys, it creates an approachable neighbourhood, while enhancing the quality of place-making around the site. This manipulation of the built form is seen at every scale, from the building to the individual homes. The judges found the project to be “an exceptional exemplar of a dense, residential-led mixed scheme”, providing “quality homes and well-scaled outside spaces that positively respond to their setting”.

5. Sands End Arts and Community Centre, London, by Mæ Architects

  • Entrance to the Sands End Art and Community Centre by Mae Architects | 100 Liverpool Street | Mæ Architects | STIRworld
    Entrance to the Sands End Art and Community Centre by Mæ Architects Image: Rory Gardiner
  • The centre presents a collection of multi-purpose lettable spaces for arts and cultural activities  | Mæ Architects | STIRworld
    Sands End Art and Community Centre presents a collection of multi-purpose lettable spaces for arts and cultural activities Image: Rory Gardiner

Noted for its significant contribution to the community, as well as for meeting the brief and the budget with confidence and inventiveness, Mæ Architects’ Sands End Art and Community Centre is a collaborative development on the northwest corner of Fulham’s South Park. The architecture comprises various newly designed pavilions arranged around the existing disused Clancarty Lodge, which have been refurbished into an exhibition space as part of the same project. The development was driven by the local council’s arts strategy of improving access to cultural activities for the local community, while the brief and programme were co-created by the council, user clients, local stakeholders, and residents, all facilitated by the architects. The spatial layout is defined by single storey accommodation, in addition to cafes, toilets, showers and changing facilities, as a collection of multipurpose lettable spaces for arts and cultural activities, making a virtue of flexibility.

6. The New Library, Magdalene College, Cambridge, by Niall McLaughlin Architects

  • New Library added to Magdalene College, a timber structure in combination with load bearing brickwork  |Magdalene College | Niall McLaughlin Architects | STIRworld
    New Library added to Magdalene College, a timber structure in combination with load bearing brickwork Image: Nick Kane
  • Timber interiors with brickwork at the The New Library, Magdalene College |Magdalene College | Niall McLaughlin Architects | STIRworld
    Timber interiors with brickwork at the The New Library, Magdalene CollegeImage: Nick Kane

A meticulously detailed timber-framed structure combined with load-bearing brickwork, the project encompasses the design of a college library replacing a former 300-year-old library. With a three-dimensional tartan grid, the new library draws its inspiration from its predecessor while creating a diversity of working and reading spaces. The jury stated, “As with the best of the city’s many libraries, a great diversity of spaces to read and work are established, and reflecting its planned longevity, the building feels nicely slack–bookshelves are barely half filled and an extraordinary sense of space pervades, like inhabiting a hugely luxurious treehouse.”

While the shortlisted projects vary in every aspect, from their typologies to the location to the design ideas and functions, all respond to the overall vision of the RIBA Stirling Award 2022. The projects respond to the understanding of construction to mitigate the climate crisis with low-carbon material as well as an understanding of addressing the community through inclusive design to create a better society. The overall winner, out of these six, will be announced on October 13, 2022 at the RIBA, 66 Portland Place, London.

(Text by Rashi Karkoon, intern at STIRworld)

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