RIBA has announced the winners of its 2018 National Awards, and there’s plenty of new buildings to wonder at – especially in London.
The capital once again came top of the pile, scooping over 20 of the 49 spots on the list, ranging from small gems like the Bethnal Green Memorial by Arboreal Architecture – which commemorates the tube disaster of 1943 – to the dramatic adaptive reuse of the King’s Cross Gasholders by WilkinsonEyre and Jonathan Tuckey Design.
Says RIBA President Ben Derbyshire: ‘I am particularly pleased to see some excellent examples of large-scale housing schemes amongst this year’s winners. Projects such as these are beacons showing how it is possible for enlightened local authorities and developers to create the well-designed, desirable and sustainable homes that communities so desperately need.’
RIBA picked out several London schemes, including the redevelopment of the King’s Crescent Estate by Karakusevic Carson Architects and Henley Halebrown, and Maccreanor Lavington’s creation of a new waterside community at the Royal Albert Wharf.
Among the other 2018 winners, a key trend to emerge is buildings that serve multiple functions and benefit their local communities.
Bennetts Associates’ Storyhouse in Chester acts as a library by day and theatre by night while Squire and Partners’ reimagination of a defunct Department Store in London as its HQ also creates retail space for local businesses, including a post office and vinyl record store.
Another theme pushing its way to the fore is the use of building materials sensitive to their local context.
The V&A’s new ceramic and timber Exhibition Road Quarter by Stirling Prize-winner Amanda Levete won praise for its limited material palette. The new extension fosters a closer relationship with the surrounding museums by opening up the building’s Grade I-listed screen to create a free-flowing streetscape.