2023 Building Beauty Awards winner, Royal Fine Art Commission Trust property prize news, Architects UK
Building Beauty Awards 2023 Winners News
post updated 11 November 2023
Bayside, Worthing wins Building Beauty Awards 2023, the richest prize in UK architecture
Building Beauty Awards Announces 2023 Winners – Britain’s Most Beautiful New Buildings
London, 11 November 2023 – Last night, the Royal Fine Art Commission Trust unveiled the winners of its 2023 Building Beauty Awards at a glittering ceremony in the Sea Containers House amphitheatre. With prizes presented by Booker Prize-winning magic realist author Sir Ben Okri, the awards – sponsored by Ballymore – celebrate new buildings, engineering structures and urban landscaping schemes that add beauty to Britain’s built environment. The esteemed judging panel was led by Stephen Bayley Hon FRIBA, Chairman of the Royal Fine Art Commission Trust and one of Britain’s foremost design critics.
Sir Ben Okri said of the awards, “The Building Beauty Awards has scored another triumph in choosing buildings, structures and schemes that bring hope and give delight. They contribute to the regeneration of their surroundings and gift us visions of creative courage, a quality much needed in our times. They remind us that we always have a choice between the indifferent and the beautiful, and that beauty in architecture enhances freedom.”
Overall Winner & Building Winner
Bayside, Worthing, Sussex
Design: Allies & Morrison
for Roffey Homes
The overall winner, chosen from the four category winners, was Bayside in Worthing, which received a £12,000 cash prize – the richest prize in British architecture – and will now represent the UK in the race for the International Building Beauty Prize at the 2023 World Architecture Festival in Singapore. Bayside was also the winner of the Building Award, beating Barking Riverside Station and One Silk Street to take the title. This mixed tenure housing development, designed by Allies & Morrison for Roffey Homes, comprises a 170ft seafront tower alongside a six-storey garden square and a beachside café.
“This is an impressive exercise in using local references to create an original and powerful landmark – a worthy replacement for the depressing 1960s swimming pool that previously occupied the site and which, ironically, turned its back on the sea.” commented the judging panel, chaired by Stephen Bayley, “It sits literally beachside and forms an exclamation mark that balances the horizontal mass of the pier. At the same time, it bookends the seafront terraces of Regency Worthing, harmonising with their white stucco while steering clear of weak historicism. Seen from the distant pier, it announces itself as a destination – not aggressively, but as a complement to the historic town.”
Woolbeding Glasshouse, Midhurst, Sussex
Design: Heatherwick Studio
for the Woolbeding Charity – 2022
Woolbeding Glasshouse in Midhurst, Sussex, was the winner of the Engineering Award, coming out on top over the Cody Dock Rolling Bridge. Designed by Heatherwick Studio for the Woolbeding Charity in collaboration with Eckersley O’Callaghan, who worked on the structural and façade engineering, this ten-sided, 1500sq ft subtropical greenhouse is inspired by Victorian ornamental terrariums, with an opening roof using a hydraulic mechanism to give the plants direct sunlight and ventilation.
“This is a muscular piece of equipment that performs a delicate task with delicacy”, said the judges, “On one level it is an eyecatcher in a sublime designed landscape: from that perspective it bears comparison, though on a smaller scale, to I.M. Pei’s celebrated summer house (also glass and aluminium) at Oare in Wiltshire. This version has the added attraction of movement, the sepals opening slowly and deliberately as the petals of a plant might in response to light. Fully open, they resemble the rays of a crown when seen from the ground, or a lotus flower when seen from above.”
Public Space Winner
Elephant Park, Elephant & Castle, London SE17
Taking the crown in the Public Space Award category was Elephant Park in Elephant & Castle, London; a public realm project by Gillespies for Lendlease, beating the Battersea Power Station Public Realm to the title. Elephant Park is a sequence of landscaped spaces conceived as part of the regeneration of the old Heygate Estate in south London, and operating on a range of scales from a new set-piece park (at two acres one of the largest post-war parks in central London) to a transformation of the streetscape along a major traffic artery.
“This is a project that brings genuine, lasting improvements to the public realm in a neighbourhood that has come close in the recent past to being an urban dystopia, blighted by gargantuan post-war developments that became more and more oppressive as they fell into decay.” commented the judges, “This subtle network of green spaces has a redemptive, softening quality, that knits together a renewed townscape and holds out the promise of a more civilised future.”
Little Gem Winner
Pavilion, Oriel Plas Arts Centre, Llanbedrog, North Wales
Design: Sanderson Sculpture / Mark Wray Architects / Fold
for Plas Glyn-y-Weddw
The “Little Gem” title went to the Plas Glyn-y-Weddw Café in Llanbedrog, Gwynedd, designed by Sanderson Sculpture, Mark Wray Architects and Fold for Plas Glyn-y-Weddw, beating Angel Yard to the top spot. This spectacular sculptural addition to Wales’s oldest art gallery comprises marine-grade structural glazing, wrapped in an envelope textured with nearly 90,000 handcrafted stainless-steel barnacles, which create a permeable layer that filters natural light to the interior.
The judges commented, “Inspired by the globular form of sea urchins, covered in welded encrustations and with a touch of Oriental exoticism to the interior, it has enough chutzpah and romantic appeal to become a destination in its own right. Certainly, it is more likely to raise a smile than the politely conventional conservatory it replaced. On a practical note, the highly textured carapace and determinedly non-orthogonal form are likely to preserve the integrity of the design, providing a kind of in-built protection against the rash of random signs and notices that so easily creeps over small buildings of this sort.”
Previously on e-architect:
20 October 2023
Building Beauty Awards Announces 2023 Finalists for Britain’s Most Beautiful New Buildings
London, 19 October 2023: Building Beauty Awards are delighted to unveil their 2023 finalists of Britain’s most beautiful new buildings, engineering structures and urban landscaping schemes.
The finalists have been selected by a prestigious judging panel chaired by “design guru” Stephen Bayley Hon FRIBA, who is joined by an esteemed panel comprised of architectural commentator Paul Finch OBE, founding Principal of Lifschutz Davidson Sandilands Architects Alex Lifschutz, BAFTA award-winning artist, photographer and filmmaker Alison Jackson, co-founder of the interdisciplinary engineering practice AKT II Professor Hanif Kara OBE, and acclaimed postmodern architect Piers Gough CBE RA.
The awards are sponsored by luxury property developer Ballymore and were founded in 2022 by the Royal Fine Art Commission Trust in a bid to celebrate beauty in our built environment. This year’s awards will be held in the Sea Containers House amphitheatre on Friday 10 November, and presented by Sir Ben Okri, the Booker Prize-winning magic realist author who has written and spoken so eloquently about the importance of beauty in the everyday.
There will be a winner for each of the four categories, in addition to an overarching winner who will receive a £12,000 prize – the richest prize in British architecture. The overall winner of this year’s Building Beauty Awards will also become the UK entry for our International Building Beauty Prize at the World Architecture Festival in Singapore at the end of November.
The finalists are:
One Silk Street, Manchester (Mecanoo Architecten for Northern Group)
A mixed-use development in the Ancoats area of Manchester, encompassing a variety of housing and commercial facilities and breathing new life into an historic quarter of the city.
A rigorous and robust building that draws on the warehouse aesthetic common to Victorian Ancoats and adapts it intelligently. This is not a pale imitation but a confident, well-realised update. To some extent One Silk Street is a pioneer building, in the vanguard of neighbourhood regeneration, and it sets an impressive tone for adjacent development sites: there’s a reasonable chance it will encourage others to raise their game and in doing so will help create a genuinely vibrant quarter.
Barking Riverside Station, London Borough of Barking & Dagenham (WW+P for TFL/Barking Riverside Ltd)
Having seen over half a million journeys in its first year of launching, the railway station which serves variously as gateway, anchor, and beacon, sets the tone for a huge development site on the Thames that is currently home to around 3,000 households. Barking Riverside will eventually contain 10,000 homes, the building of which has been unlocked through this significant piece of infrastructure.
It’s a coolly elegant, disciplined piece of work, light and airy at platform level with a distinctive band of perforated Corten steel, running the length of the building, that gives the building visual coherence and personality.
Weston Williamson – renamed as WW+P
Bayside, Worthing, Sussex (Allies & Morrison for Roffey Homes)
A brave and breathtaking building, sitting literally beachside at the eastern end of Regency Worthing and forming an exclamation mark that harmonises well with the white stucco of the seafront terraces and the horizontal mass of the historic pier.
An impressive exercise in using local references to create an original and powerful landmark – a worthy replacement for the depressing 1960s swimming pool that previously occupied the site and which, ironically, turned its back on the sea.
Cody Dock Rolling Bridge, London E16 (Price & Myers Structural Engineers with Thomas Randall-Page for Gasworks Dock Partnership
This pedestrian bridge, made from weathering steel and oak, is manually rolled to allow boats to pass. It is as much a piece of sculpture and a diverting spectacle as a functional bridge.
The beauty is in the details: in the slow rolling of the bridge as it opens and closes and in the elegantly serpentine caterpillar track cut into the dock walls. A joyous way of helping to revivify a contaminated and derelict stretch of post-industrial riverside.
Woolbeding Glasshouse, Midhurst, Sussex (Heatherwick Studio for the Woolbeding Charity – 2022)
The Woolbeding Glasshouse is a unique kinetic glasshouse set on the edge of the National Trust’s Woolbeding Gardens.
It is both an eyecatcher in a Georgian landscape and a muscular and delicate piece of machinery.
The movement of the sepals, opening slowly as the petals of a plant might in response to light, makes it an object of delight.
Public Space Award
Battersea Power Station Public Realm, London SW11 (LDA Design for Battersea Power Station Development Company)
The long-awaited renewal of Battersea Power Station has been a triumph, propelling Giles Gilbert Scott’s leviathan from the throes of dereliction to a new life as a leisure and retail destination.
Part of the success comes from the generosity and quality of the surrounding public realm, a beautifully judged mix of intimate spaces and grand vistas that includes, uniquely in west London, a piazza running down to the river.
It forms a place from which to contemplate the brick cliff of Scott’s north front in all its cathedral-like magnificence, almost as you might the Torre del Mangia from the Campo in Siena.
Elephant Park, Elephant & Castle, London SE17 (Gillespies for Lendlease)
A project that brings genuine, lasting improvements to the public realm in a neighbourhood that has come close in the recent past to being an urban dystopia, blighted by gargantuan, oppressive post-war developments.
This subtle network of green spaces has a redemptive, softening quality that knits together a renewed townscape and operates across an impressive range.
The repertoire spans not just set-piece parks but transformed pavements, notably along the New Kent Road where a scrappy, flyblown streetscape is fashioned into an elegant, urbane stretch.
Little Gem Award
Angel Yard, Edmonton, London N18 (Jan Kattein Architects for Enfield Council)
This temporary ensemble, creating small affordable workspaces on a microscopic budget, might easily have been banal. But instead, it manages to create beauty in a deprived locality on the cusp of redevelopment.
Amid the decay, this stands as an exemplar of what can be achieved through attention to detail, evident in the miniature but uplifting two-storey work units with their barrel-vaulted ceilings.
The architects have replaced derelict garages with a low-key but surprisingly delicate piece of work that acts as a statement of faith in a place where hopelessness could all too easily take root.
Pavilion, Oriel Plas Arts Centre, Llanbedrog, North Wales (Sanderson Sculpture / Mark Wray Architects / Fold
for Plas Glyn-y-Weddw)
A creative addition to a small country house that now serves an arts centre, this petite café is more likely to raise a smile than the pedestrian conservatory it replaced.
Inspired by playful references to sea urchins and covered in welded encrustations, it has enough chutzpah to become a destination in its own right.
The Royal Fine Art Commission Trust
The Royal Fine Art Commission Trust is a registered charity established in 1987 to sit alongside the Royal Fine Art Commission, the Government’s independent advisor on matters affecting public amenity and aesthetics in England and Wales. Its President is Lord Foster of Thames Bank O.M. and its advisory and trustee boards includes leading names in the worlds of art, architecture and design, including Tristram Hunt, Sir Terry Farrell and Lord Palumbo of Walbrook.
Over the past thirty-five years, the Trust has sought to promote visual awareness and public appreciation of high-quality design, and today it continues to advance its charitable objectives through commentary on design matters and by partnering projects where its involvement can add value.
Previously on e-architect:
Building Beauty Awards Winners in 2022
Tintagel Castle Footbridge wins Building Beauty Awards, the richest prize in UK architecture
Building Beauty Awards in 2022 Winners News
Overall Winner & Engineering Winner
Tintagel Castle Footbridge in Cornwall received a £10,000 cash prize.
Public Space Winner
Little Gem Winner
Building Beauty Awards Announces 2023 Finalists – Royal Fine Art Commission Trust prize images / information received 191023
Previously on e-architect:
Building Beauty Awards in 2022
photograph : Philip Sinden
Building Beauty Awards 2022
Previously on e-architect:
The SBID Awards 2020 Winners
images courtesy of SBID
SBID International Design Awards 2020
RIBA House of the Year 2021 Winner
photo : Paul Riddle
RIBA House of the Year 2021 Winner
Brick Awards 2021 – winning Buildings + Architects
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