Monday, 16 July 2012

RIBA Yorkshire Student Awards 2012

The 2012 RIBA Yorkshire Student Awards were announced on 5 July 2012 at an event packed with professionals keen to see the next generation's best architectural talent. 

Undergraduate and Postgraduate work from architecture students at Leeds Metropolitan University, University of Sheffield, Sheffield Hallam University and Huddersfield University were entered into the awards which were judged by a panel of industry leaders. 

There were two entry classes for the awards. Each architecture school involved was asked to submit two Part 1 design projects and two Part 2 design projects. 

The winners were as follows:
Part 1 (undergraduate) 

Gold – Matt Pearson, University of Sheffield 
Concept: North Atlantic Duel: Museum & Memorial, Birkenhead Docks 
Silver and Best Presentation – Joe Walton, Leeds Metropolitan University
Concept: Trinity's Recycling Scrapyard, London 
Bronze - Leo Palmer, Sheffield Hallam University
Concept: River Rock Theatre, Holmfirth
Part 2 (postgraduate)

Silver and Best Presentation Prize – Antony Hogger, University of Sheffield
Concept: Convalescent's Memorial, Runcorn 
Silver - Stuart Deacon, Sheffield Hallam University
Concept: The Value Of (Re)collection, Liverpool 
Bronze – Ryan Bulled, Sheffield Hallam University
Concept: Death In The City, Liverpool
Congratulations to all our winners! 
An exhibition of the nominated and winning projects is on display at The Design and Innovation Centre Gallery, 46 The Calls, Leeds until Friday 20 July 2012.

RIBA Awards 2012 - What the judges said: Saxton, Leeds

Photographer: Joel Fildes
This project takes two derelict housing blocks at the rear of a refurbished city centre council estate and brings them back into use for the benefit of the new residents, the existing residents and the city as a whole. It seemed to the judges to offer a paradigm for regeneration in these straightened times that combines both social and environmental sustainability within a fresh new approach.
Photographer: Joel Fildes

Fed up with the vandalism that dereliction brought to their homes, the social housing tenants next door were the first to embrace the new development which has engaged with them on lots of levels. They have been involved from the initial consultation exercises through to invitations to joint activities such as carol services and barbecues and the use of facilities on the new site which they can share.

The newly refurbished blocks that form the basis of this project contain 50% of affordable homes in the form of one and two bedroom apartments as part of Equity Share and Rent-a-Home schemes. The remainder are for private sale.

The clever approach that the Architects have taken to reordering the derelict bocks has led to an increase in the number of homes on the site from 214 to 410, giving new homes for sale without a loss of affordable housing. Apartments are small, but light and cheerful, many with spectacular views.

Photographer: Joel Fildes
The existing structure, lifts and stairs have been reused, adding to the outside a new steel structure to provide the increased density and allow the building to be clad in a highly insulating but very elegant new skin. Subtle variations in colour choice of this skin and the use of more tactile materials where the facade returns into balconies and entrances gives a low cost cladding material a high quality feel.

The judges were impressed by the way in which the conceptual approach encompassed the whole project with every aspect of social activity and functional response carefully considered. The sloping site was cleverly used to separate out the social heart from the ubiquitous parking areas and to make a communal entrance with a strong relationship back to the city. The individual entrances and semi public elements of the buildings were carefully considered with changes of scale and material making for a simple legibility.
Photographer: Joel Fildes

Great care had been taken to achieve particular character in place making whether in the social heart or in the extensive wider landscaping which forms the largest private garden in the region.

‘An enclave of peace very close to the city centre’ was a comment we heard. This care in design is reinforced by the quality of activity available, with free or subsidised social facilities in the form of gyms, allotments, a  kindergarten, boules, table tennis, picnic areas and follies available to both new and original communities.
Photographer: Joel Fildes

RIBA Awards 2012 - What the judges said: Kirk Balk Community College, Barnsley

Photographer: Timothy Soar

With a very committed Headmistress and Education Partnership, this project set very high standards of expectation for the Architects, who have responded with a very clear and pragmatic solution to the brief. Very aware of the wilful form making that has characterised a large number of Building Schools for the Future projects, they proposed a solution that comprised of two simple geometric forms, a triangle and a rectangle. In the wrong hands this approach could have been leaden, and it is a testament to their skill and ability that they have embedded the building with considerable subtlety and a high quality of experience.

The huge benefit of their simple geometric approach has been to enable resources to be diverted into providing a much higher quality of finish and material specification than is normal within the school building programme.
Photographer: Timothy Soar

As with many of the new Barnsley Schools, the site is on a hilltop. Visible from quite a distance. This has been taken full advantage of in the placing of the buildings on the site. The school sits very naturally on the hillside with the community it serves spread gently around it.
Photographer: Rob Parrish

The sloping site is also cleverly used in the sectional approach to the triangular building, where multi layered and complex interior spaces are generated whilst giving exceptional views from the higher parts of the building.

It is the use of views and the constant referencing of the relationship between this building and its context that is really exceptional. Corridors always end in a view, teaching spaces have wide interior vision panels so views are obtained through the buildings layers, the corners of the triangle are cut out to make viewing places and unexpected places turned into unexpected vistas.

Photographer: Timothy Soar

Light and view combine in the interior as well, with some fascinating interior panoramas and layered spaces enlivened by top lighting. This is all enabled by the large space at the centre of the triangular form which gives a very high level of visual interconnectedness for such a large school – easy to keep control without it being felt as overbearing and giving a sense of cohesiveness to the whole composition.

The separation of the curriculum teaching from the aptly named ’expressives’ building works well, connected together by a street which will allow simple flexibility and expansion in the future  and also allows out of hours use of the sports, arts and youth facilities by the Community.
Photographer: Timothy Soar

The jury were particularly impressed by the way thought had been given to every level of detail right down to the extensive and excellent graphics, the subtle choice of materials and consideration of high quality furniture and fittings. This is a building where the Architect is very much in control and the contracting partner fully engaged.

RIBA Awards 2012 - What the judges said: The Hepworth Wakefield

Photographer: Iwan Baan

Arrival by car to this building is initially a little confusing. It is soon clear that artifice is at play and one’s approach is being manipulated. The promise of the building across the road and its extraordinary context means, however, that you engage willingly as you are drawn across the elegant entrance bridge surrounded by all manner of strange river craft and motley industrial buildings.
Photographer: Helene Binet
The gallery works beautifully with this varied and gritty context, both suggesting it belongs and at the same time is something rather special. Its scale changes as you approach and enter it, big and dramatic where it needs to be, but welcoming where it doesn’t. The carefully cast dusky mauve concrete forms make you want to stroke them as you get closer and the subtle thro-coloured mdf lining of the entrance hall has the same effect.

What appears to be a fairly random set of boxes in plan soon reveals its logic, with spaces such as the shop, cafĂ©, education room and offices on the ground floor radiating out from the entrance space. The stair to the first floor also radiates from the entrance space and takes you up, wrapped in the mauve mdf lining, to the first floor galleries. Here the circulation pattern changes subtly from radiating to radial and the promenade takes you sideways through an en-filade of galleries. 
Photographer: Iwan Baan
Photographer: Iwan Baan
The galleries are formed using a double wall system which allows tolerance in way the different gallery shapes relate to each other, provides wonderfully deep and substantial thresholds between spaces and completely conceals the ventilation services which feed the spaces through the shadow gaps between wall and floor. This level of control of potential visual interference is complete. Blackout is seamlessly integrated, as is daylight attenuation and other more obvious details like doors and windows which are flushed in or unexpressed.

This only serves to heighten the sense of light quality and relation to context given by the openings that are allowed with each space. The long slit roof light in each gallery is a recurring theme that models each space whilst the carefully placed windows serve to rest the eye and constantly locate the building against the context of Hemsley Moor, the Town Hall, the Wier and the Chapel on the Bridge.
Photographer: Iwan Baan
The jury were impressed by the fact that despite dramatic changes of scale within spaces; they were all focussed, comfortable and relaxed, allowing both large and small objects to be shown together in an atmosphere of intimacy. The fact that you can see from one space to another and beyond draws the eye naturally through, taking you with it.

Visiting this building was a truly uplifting experience; it was very focussed and perfectly considered. It gave the sense of being made specifically for the work of Hepworth whilst at the same time being very much of Yorkshire, grounded and granite like. An affirming project on every level.

RIBA Awards and White Rose Awards 2012

An amazing new gallery in Wakefield, elegant apartments in Leeds and an inspiring college in Barnsley have been given an award by the RIBA in recognition of their architectural excellence.

The Yorkshire buildings are amongst 59 buildings in the UK and Europe, which have received RIBA Awards (50 in the UK and 9 in the rest of the EU).  The shortlist for the RIBA Stirling Prize, for the best building of the year, will be drawn from these RIBA Award winners.

The three Yorkshire buildings that have won National RIBA Awards are:

The Hepworth, Wakefield, David Chipperfield Architects
RIBA Award 2012
White Rose Building of the Year Award 2012
Photographer: Iwan Baan

Saxton, Leeds, Union North Architects  
RIBA Award 2012

White Rose Sustainability Award 2012
Photographer: Joel Fildes
Kirk Balk Community College, Barnsley, Allford Hall Monaghan Morris 
RIBA Award 2012

White Rose Client of the Year Award 2012
Photographer: Timothy Soar

In addition to this, four buildings in Yorkshire were winners of the regional RIBA Yorkshire, White Rose Awards:

Ad++ House, York, Coffey Architects 

White Rose Award 2012

White Rose Small Project of the Year Award 2012

Photographer: Timothy Soar
Cliffe Hill Primary School, Halifax, Aedas Architects
White Rose Award 2012
Photographer: Simon Miles

The Horsefield House, Sheffield, Prue Chiles Architects
White Rose Award 2012
Photographer: Peter Lathey

M&S Simply Foods, Sheffield, Lewis & Hickey Architects
White Rose Award 2012
Photographer: Feargal O’Ceallaigh
Shortlisted buildings 2012:
  • Archbishop Sentamu Academy, Hull, HKS Architects
  • Bradford Grammar School, Bradford, Halliday Clark Architects
  • Carlton Community College, Barnsley, BDP
  • Darton College, Barnsley, Lathams Architects
  • The Grange, Sheffield, Studio Gedye
  • Grimsby University Centre, Grimsby, Ryder Architecture
  • Headingley Enterprise and Arts Centre, Leeds, Brewster Bye Architects
  • New Head Quarters for Northern Ballet and Phoenix Dance, Leeds, Jacobs Architecture
  • Saint Margaret’s Burley (Left Bank), Leeds, Wiles & Maguire

Wednesday, 11 July 2012

The Urban Toybox - what is a playful space?

RIBA Yorkshire teamed up with Construction Industry Council to run a day of debate discussing the importance of "playful spaces" in the urban environment.

Pat Kane, Ruwen Aluvihare, Iain Borden and Scott Burnham
The audience are captivated
The day kicked off with journalist, musician (Hue and Cry) and cultural commentator Pat Kane who discussed that play and the spaces in which we play, are both an individual and public activity, personal and cultural, and important to the development of social environments and the everyday experiences of human lives. He used a video of a laughing baby ripping paper to show how play can assist learning. At the beginning of the 90 second clip, baby Ethan laughs so hard when he rips a piece of paper that he falls back and hits his head. He does this a few times, and then learns to laugh in a way that does not unsteady himself, so he can tear, laugh and not bang his head.

Ruwen Aluvihare, Steden Bouwer (City Builder) from Amsterdam went on to illustrate that the use of public space has evolved dramatically since the promenading parks of the Victorian era. He used examples of work in Amsterdam to show how perhaps the streetscape has replaced the park as the centre for social interraction, economic activity, recreation and play.

Dr Iain Borden, Professor of Architecture and Urban Culture at the Bartlett School of Architecture discussed his lifetime research subject and passion of skateboarding in the city. He explained that the average pedestrian only engages with the built environment on a single level, while skateboarders and free-runners reinterpret the city as a series of challenges. Where a pedestrian sees a bench, a skateboarder sees it as a platform on which to demonstrate a technical challenge. Each surface, regardless of its orientation and axis, is treated with enthusiasm and physical engagement, thereby reinterpreting the city.

Creative Director Scott Burnham, used a number of his projects from Urban Play to show how the street and public environment can be used as a canvas and encourage playful interaction. Reversing the traditional approach to urban design, in which objects and areas are created specifically to discourage public interaction and intervention, he explained that his carefully placed objects were created to encourage interaction and physical engagement by the public. He used the example of Stefan Sagmeister’s design of 350,000 euro cent coins that were placed in a square in Amsterdam to spell out "obsessions make my life worse and my work better." The project tested the public's morals, and the team fully expected for coins to be moved or stolen over night. However, the last thing they expected was for all of the coins to have disappeared by the following morning. The mystery was solved when the Amsterdam police called to say that the coins were safely stored at the police station!?! The police had totally missed the point, but were doing what they thought was right. Oh well...

Peter Crosland, Alan Simson, Ed Park, Gisele Bone
Stefanie Stead, Guy Denton, Jonathan Houndslow, Matthew Margetts
Members of the audience were then invited to share their thoughts on what a playful space means to them with some very interesting results!

Thanks to Stefanie Stead and the CIC Yorkshire and Humber committee for all their hard work in putting on a great day. Thanks also to Robin Jackson from the York Architectural Association for being photographer and IT whizz for the day.

Tuesday, 10 July 2012

Leeds Tower Works comes alive again

YORnet and RIBA Yorkshire invited architects and other young professionals to visit the newly completed first phase of the Tower Works renovation and redevelopment.

Tower Works is a former factory notable for its three listed towers that are a distinctive landmark on the Leeds skyline. The largest and most ornate tower (1899, by Bakewell) is based on Giotto's Campanile in Florence. The smaller ornate tower (1866, by Shaw) is styled after the Torre dei Lamberti in Verona. A third plain tower, is thought to represent a Tuscan tower house such as can be seen in San Gimignano.  

Bauman Lyons won a high profile competition in 2006 to redevelop the site and save the derelict listed towers. The completed buildings provide office space, start-up workshop units and cultural & community facilities in Holbeck Urban Village.

The evening started with an introduction to the project by Sam Wilson from Bauman Lyons Architects, Tom Hustler from Homes and Communities Agency who acquired the buildings from previous owners Yorkshire Forward and Creative Space Networks who are now managing the buildings in use.

Tower Works is a former factory notable for its three listed towers that are a distinctive landmark on the Leeds skyline. The largest and most ornate tower (1899, by Bakewell) is based on Giotto's Campanile in Florence. The smaller ornate tower (1866, by Shaw) is styled after the Torre dei Lamberti in Verona. A third plain tower, is thought to represent a Tuscan tower house such as can be seen in San Gimignano.

We then had the opportunity to walk round the buildings, and have a closer look at the playful interaction between new and old.

To find out about future building visits and events, please contact or

YORnet is a multi-disciplinary network attached to Concourse (The Leeds Centre for Art, Architecture, Construction, Landscape, Planning and Urban Design) whose aim is to provide a forum within which young planners, architects, engineers, surveyors, landscape architects and other young professionals in the Yorkshire region can develop their interest in planning, regeneration and design and also socialise and share experiences.