The 2017 RIBA Awards cycle continues with the recent reveal of six winning buildings for the 2017 West Midlands Awards. Along with the London Award winners, the West Midlands regional winners will be considered for a RIBA National Award. Once the National Awards shortlist is selected, those projects have a chance to be crowned with the RIBA Stirling Prize for best building of the year.
“The winners deliver an architecture with a narrative and a poetry, while also fully responding to the functional needs of the facilities they created,” stated RIBA Jury Chair Natalia Maximova. “It is a year of quieter and well-mannered design, nevertheless, no less confident and powerful for that reason.”
Scroll down to learn more about the winning projects.
Jaguar Land Rover Engine Manufacturing Centre by Arup Associates
Excerpt from jury report: “The factory building is huge - acres and acres of the light metal-clad solid façade. The design team has paid careful attention to the proportion, reveals and junction details of the façade modules. Repeated many times over, this simple and well expressed element of the design has generated a powerful architectural impression. Modules are based on the structural grid and each contains a north rooflight, which when put together creates a modern version of the familiar factory skyline. A continuous strip of glass along the ground floor allows this new age industrial ship stay afloat especially when approaching the site from a distance and allows views into the production lines from outside...Everything about this scheme is well-considered, practical yet aesthetically balanced and works well even at a macro scale.”
Remembrance Centre, National Memorial Arboretum Alrewas by Glenn Howells Architects
Excerpt from jury report: “A well-proportioned, neo-classical façade projects the appropriate level of gravitas associated with a building of such importance. The client preferred to use timber as the main material and it does indeed add a softness and human scale to an otherwise relentless colonnade. The colonnade does however create an allusion to military order and formality, where every member is equal in the face of the ultimate [...] The building rises to the challenge of unifying an existing chapel, a former visitor centre and external spaces and gardens. It addresses the Armed Forces Memorial in a powerful way. Visitors must digress from the processional axis of the memorial into the landscape before stepping into the formal approach to the arboretum. The experience becomes more gradual and thoughtful.”
The Compound by BPN Architects
Excerpt from jury report: “There is certainly an air of a theatre and cinematography in the Compound projects –a former textile factory turned into an art venue, a workshop and a client's home. The governing design principle is to bring old spaces back in use with minimal intervention by mixing original textures with modern elements and contemporary art. Following this principle, the external façade is left unchanged - even down to a hand-painted house number on the original door. Nothing on a street frontage tells you what is to happen inside. A small doorway in the corner of a blank facade leads into a generous double-height space, day-lit from the top. Stepping across the threshold is like stepping into an unexpected emporium - a visually intense world filled with objet d’art and industrial heritage. [...] The project [...] gets under the skin of ‘making things’ and celebrates craftsmanship and a beauty of honest and purposeful spaces and objects.”
St. Michael’s Hospice, Hereford by Architype
“The client's vision was to provide not just a hospice but a community and training centre. The building certainly delivers this vision. Since its opening, the hospice has indeed become a hub for the local community and is used daily for seminars and external courses. [...] Overall it must be those beautifully lit and airy spaces inside the hospice and the views of the landscape that have a quite power to make one feel at ease with the world and the ultimate end. It is not an acceptance, nor it is a hope or a reflection but a comfort of calmness and peace, for now and beyond.“
Croft Lodge Studio, Leominster by Kate Darby Architects
Excerpt from jury report: “The Croft Lodge Studio is a striking and imaginative project full of small delights and skilful solutions. The decision to encapsulate the remains of the 17th century cottage with almost everything left intact, including the dry ivy branches and the trimmings, in a modern house is both bold and brave and is successfully carried out by the project team. In part hidden behind Tolkien-scale giant trees, the building is the complete opposite of a Hansel and Gretel gingerbread house – not one jot of pastoral sweetness or prettiness. As a minimalist black box clad in corrugated metal with large clear openings, it is a photographic negative of its vernacular neighbours. Nevertheless, it sits really well within its surroundings and the site topography, principally by following the scale and form of the adjacent family home.”
Alan Walters Building, University of Birmingham by Berman Guedes Stretton
Excerpt from jury report: “The Alan Walters building, a new Postgraduate Teaching Centre, is a fitting addition to Birmingham Business School. Much calmer in its scale and expression than the neighbouring 1970s landmark Muirhead Tower, it conveys quiet confidence and inner poise through its dignified internal spaces and careful detailing. [...] The proposal creates a 'grown-up' feel and provides learning facilities with a strong professional edge - without being corporate or over-branded. Its stimulating environment has an appropriate ambience for post-graduate teaching, making the scheme an exemplary university project.”
Photos courtesy of RIBA.
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