Grafton Architects wins 2021 RIBA Stirling Award,
The prestigious 2021 RIBA Stirling Award has been awarded to Grafton Architects,
after designing a townhouse project at Kingston University in London,
and the studio has previously won the Pritzker Prize for Architecture.
The 2021 RIBA Stirling Prize is the Royal Institute of British Architects’ award,
given to the best new building in the UK.
The studio was chosen after its design for the project,
which has been widely acclaimed as a “new progressive paradigm for the design of higher education buildings.”
Where a dynamic student townhouse expertly embodies the spirit of learning and the value of community cohesion,
Grafton Architects was shortlisted among six strong projects.
The list included Marks Barfield Architects’ modern urban mosque, speculative project Amin Taha, Stanton Williams’ Key Worker Housing, Ney & Partners,
William Matthews Associates English Heritage’s Tintagel Castle pedestrian bridge in Cornwall,
and the Windermere Jetty Museum in Carmody Groarke in Cumbria.
RIBA Gold Medal-winning firm Grafton Architects, led by Irish duo Yvonne Farrell and Shelley McNamara Yvonne Farrell and Shelley McNamara,
won an international competition to design the project launched by the university in collaboration with the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) in 2013.
Design features provided by Grafton Architects
The six-storey building serves as the gateway to the Penryn Road campus of Kingston University in London,
and contains a multi-story academic library and archive as well as dance studios and a studio theatre.
The main building also includes a covered inner courtyard, cafés, outdoor balconies and walkways.
The townhouse is the first studio building to be completed in the UK, and the project’s name suggests the civic dimension of the building,
as well as reflecting a sense of home and belonging.
This place sends an important message to the many students in Kingston,
their teachers and the local community that this is a place that everyone welcomes and appreciates.
Grafton Architects wins 2021 RIBA Stirling Award
The building is a throwback from the street, while the project extends into the public realm,
through its columned structure, drawn from the organization’s three-dimensional matrix.
The building generously erases its boundary with the sidewalk and invites everyone – students,
locals and visitors alike, since there are no barriers inside the building.
The distinctive facade extends to 200 meters and features deep columns that create shade and shelter,
with terraces and gardens above providing shelving for the connected public spaces.
The facades are designed to be fully permeable,
to remain open and transparent on the lower levels, to reveal pedestrians’ views of the inviting activities taking place inside,
and to become more shaded on the upper levels.
The building is equally open and spacious on the inside, and users and visitors are welcomed by the public forum,
which leads to an amphitheater.
From the ground floor, eyes are drawn through the building, through voids and stairs – to complement the social and study spaces.
The modular acoustic design of a bustling public forum,
a quiet library, archive, dance studio and theater allows to coexist and enrich the users’ experience.