‘Architecture of the everyday’ makes strong Prime Minister’s Award shortlist
11 June 2009
Tessa Kordeckza, 020 7070 6769, email@example.com
A record shortlist for this year’s Prime Minister’s Better Public Building Award reveals how ‘architecture of the everyday’ – streets, schools, bridges and stations – easily ranks among the most imaginative and beautiful designs being built today.
The award is unique in requiring both efficient procurement and excellent design. The 24 projects, chosen from 125 entries from around the country, also represent the biggest ever shortlist. There were 21 projects on last year’s shortlist, and 18 the year before.
Commenting on the shortlist, the Prime Minister, the Rt Hon Gordon Brown MP, said:
‘I would like to congratulate all the projects shortlisted for this year's Better Public Building Award. We are absolutely committed to good quality, sustainable public buildings and infrastructure, as we believe that buildings that work efficiently and effectively improve the lives of those working in and around them and mean better public services. These projects show how creative design can make a real difference to how buildings and places work and can deliver public buildings that the community can take pride in.’
The award is sponsored jointly by CABE, the Office of Government Commerce and, for the first time this year, the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (formerly the Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform).
CABE chair Sir John Sorrell added:
‘I think we are reaching a tipping point where a desire for good design is evident in most public building. This is not something you can measure easily. It’s a gradual shift in our procurement culture. I think most clients will no longer accept badly conceived, lowest cost solutions, even in a recession. The result is a myriad of examples of well designed buildings and spaces: an architecture of the everyday that helps people live more convenient lives in more beautiful places.’
Half the projects are transport infrastructure. At Ashford in Kent, after extensive public consultation, the radical re-engineering of a wide one-way ring road has given a once car-dominated town a distinctive new identity. Intriguing artworks, such as curved lighting columns, have been skilfully integrated into a new pedestrian-friendly environment.
In Derby, a sleek new bridge across the River Derwent evokes the city’s rich textile past. The Cathedral Green Footbridge is inspired by the movement of the hinged blades of a tailor’s shears and swings round a 20 metre-high needle-like mast. The carefully detailed new Harthill Footbridge provides a safe, weatherproof and easily accessible crossing over Scotland’s busiest motorway.
Wood Lane station in London – the first new station to be built on an existing tube line in 70 years – is an elegant two-storey steel and glass structure, with a 25 metre glass screen façade.
Seven of the shortlisted projects are education buildings. In south London, at Dunraven School, recycled sea containers were used to create a surprising, elegant and light sports hall within a tight budget. On a difficult and heavily trafficked site in deprived inner-city Birmingham, the Joseph Chamberlain Sixth Form College is built around Oxbridge-inspired courtyards.
At the University of Nottingham, the Jubilee Campus extension creates a strong new identity for the university with three stunning new buildings and a striking piece of public art – at 60 metres the tallest sculpture in the UK.
Notes to editors
The complete shortlist
Ashford Ring Road Project, Ashford, Kent
Principal designer: Whitelaw Turkington
Transformation of Ashford’s three-lane, one-way ring road into a series of interconnected town centre streets aimed to shift the focus away from the car – and create a new identity for the town. Footpaths have been widened, a new route between the railway station and town centre created, secure cycle parking installed, sheltered seating provided and new trees planted.
The Bridge Academy, Hackney, London
Principal designer: Building Design Partnership
Situated in an extremely tight site, this new multi-storey academy shows how design can produce a high-quality learning environment on even the most challenging site.
Brigg Line freight enhancement, Brigg, North Lincolnshire
Principal designer: Arup
Long-term structural problems have been resolved with a stabilised and strengthened embankment which allows increased traffic of freight trains, saving an estimated 65 million ‘road miles’ each year.
Bristol Metropolitan College, Bristol
Principal designer: Wilkinson Eyre Architects
A strong partnership of school, architects and construction team has created a light, airy new BSF school, with a curving central ‘street’ at its heart, and a wave-like undulating roof.
Cathedral Green Footbridge, Derby
Principal designer: Ramboll
This elegant pedestrian and cycle swing bridge creates both a link and a meeting place. Its design was inspired by Derby’s textile industry and derives from a tailor’s shears, in particular the action of hinged blades as they open and close.
Clackmannanshire Bridge, Kincardine, Scotland
Principal designer: Scott Wilson, with Benaim
This technically innovative and elegant bridge is a key link in the Forth Valley area, serving the northeast and north of Scotland. It alleviates traffic on existing bridges, bringing much needed environmental benefits to the local community in Kincardine.
Creativexchange, St Neots, Cambridgeshire
Principal designer: 5th Studio
With an exposed concrete frame and two cantilevered levels, this new public arts centre, which brings together galleries, events spaces and workshops for creative companies, is a bold addition to the growth corridor of St Neots.
The Deck, National Theatre, London
Principal designer: A-EM Studio Ltd
The National Theatre has ingeniously converted some of its terraced roof space to create a new events facility with spectacular views. Construction challenges on a complex and sensitive site were met by a cost-effective prefabricated pavilion suspended on a steel support.
Dunraven School, new four-court sports hall, Streatham, London
Principal designer: SCABAL (Sall, Cullinan and Buck Architects Ltd)
Recycled sea containers have been cleverly employed to create a new four-courts sports hall, providing surprisingly beautiful facilities for both the school and the local community within a limited budget.
Ham flood defence scheme, Ham, Taunton, Somerset
Principal designer: Atkins
Improvements to existing flood defences and new interventions will now protect the village of Ham, which has been flooded by the Rover Tone repeatedly in the last 50 years.
Herbert Art Gallery and Museum, Coventry
Principal designer: Pringle Richards Sharratt
Imaginative re-use of an existing building, with a beautifully crafted new extension, make a striking addition to Coventry’s regenerated city centre. A glazed public arcade extends the public realm through the building.
Infinity Bridge, Stockton on Tees
Principal designer: Expedition Engineering
This unique footbridge – a sinuous span supported by two steel arches – is used by 4,000 people every day and is a catalyst for regeneration of the Stockton on Tees North Shore site, a former chemical works.
Joseph Chamberlain Sixth Form College, Birmingham
Principal designer: Nicholas Hare Architects
The new buildings and grounds provide students in a deprived inner-city area with a rich learning environment. A tree-lined route leads from a busy road and courtyards provide calm, protected spaces.
The Level Centre, Matlock, Derbyshire
Principal designer: Clash Associates
The design of this creative hub for people with learning disabilities was developed in close cooperation with its users. It also provides facilities for the local community in a low-energy, low-maintenance building.
Lewisburn Bridge, Kielder Village, Northumberland
Principal designer: Forestry Civil Engineering
This deceptively simple yet meticulously designed timber walkway subtly reflects its forest environment but at the same time is striking enough to become a visitor attraction in its own right for the North Tyne Valley.
Liverpool canal link, Liverpool
Principal designer: Arup
The new canal link extends from derelict land in the north, now primed for regeneration, to the city-centre world heritage site and new visitor facilities.
M6 Extension: Carlisle to Guards Mill, Cumbria
Principal designer: Capita Symonds
Good design and effective procurement resulted in a cost-saving of over £20 million in a road extension that completes the motorway network from London to Glasgow. Major environmental and conservation challenges were successfully met by engineers and contractors.
M8 Harthill Footbridge Replacement, North Lanarkshire, Scotland
Principal designer: Buro Happold
This elegant and carefully detailed footbridge is fully enclosed and weatherproof and provides a well lit, inclusive and safe crossing over Scotland’s busiest motorway.
University of Nottingham Jubilee Campus extension, Nottingham
Principal designer: Make Architects
Three new landmark buildings and a striking piece of public art – at 60 metres the tallest sculpture in the UK – create a gateway and strong identity for the university, emphasising its modernity and sustainability.
Oldham Schools PFI Project, Oldham
Principal designer: Architects Co-Partnership Ltd
Two 1,500-place secondary schools (the Radclyffe School and the Failsworth School), both previously on multiple sites, have been designed with a covered central ‘street’ that is a flexible resource at the heart of modern, spacious school environments.
Whitehead Building, Goldsmiths, University of London, London
Principal designer: A-EM Studio Ltd
Three buildings have been refurbished economically and sustainably and with great panache. Visual cohesion has been achieved through a horizontal line dividing a white surface above from a ‘plinth’ below finished in dark cladding.
Wood Lane Station, London
Principal designer: Ian Ritchie Architects
The new station – the first to be built on an existing tube line in 70 years – is an elegant two-storey steel and glass structure, with a suspended 25 metre glass screen façade.
Docklands Light Railway Woolwich Arsenal Extension, London
Principal designer: Halcrow Group Ltd
The 2.5km of new railway and a new station reduces the barrier imposed by the Thames and provides reliable public transport, helping spur regeneration and providing an important transport link for the London 2012 Olympics and its legacy.
ZEBRA@Lion House, Alnwick, Northumberland
Principal designer: Gibberd
This new two-storey building, replacing its dilapidated predecessor, provides an ultra-low emissions office for Defra. It is the first office building and first government-owned building to achieve an A+ Energy Performance Certificate.
- Further information on all shortlisted projects, including details of client, designer, engineer, contractor, contract value and judges comments, is available at: www.betterpublicbuilding.org.uk
- The winner of the Prime Minister’s Award will be announced on 14 October 2009 at the BCIA awards dinner.
- The Prime Minister’s Better Public Building Award is a special category of the British Construction Industry Awards (BCIA) and is sponsored jointly by CABE, the Office of Government Commerce (OGC) and the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (formerly the Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform). Now in its ninth year, the award recognises high-quality design – essential for a good public building – but also efficient procurement; economic and social value; good team work between client, designer and contractor; sound financial management and whole-life value for money; and sustainability. For further information, see www.betterpublicbuilding.org.uk
- CABE is the government’s advisor on architecture, urban design and public space. As a public body, we encourage policymakers to create places that work for people. We help local planners apply national design policy and offer expert advice to developers and architects. We show public sector clients how to commission buildings that meet the needs of their users. And we seek to inspire the public to demand more from their buildings and spaces. Advising, influencing and inspiring, we work to create well-designed, welcoming places. www.cabe.org.uk
- The Office of Government Commerce is an independent office of HM Treasury, established to help Government deliver best value from its spending. OGC provides policy standards and guidance on best practice in procurement, projects and estate management, and monitors and challenges departments' performance against these standards. It promotes and fosters collaborative procurement across the public sector to deliver better value for money and better public services; and it provides innovative ways to develop Government's commercial and procurement capability, including leadership of the Government Procurement Service. www.ogc.gov.uk
- The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (formerly the Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform) helps ensure business success in an increasingly competitive world. Its role is to boost productivity and keep the UK competitive and an attractive place to do business, especially in challenging economic times. It helps companies succeed overseas and bring foreign investment to the UK. www.berr.gov.uk