The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) has unveiled this year's winners of its prestigious National Awards. Consisting of the very best new architecture the UK has to offer, the awards showcase a wide range of projects, including a pavilion on the site that King John signed Magna Carta, a beautiful Scottish whisky distillery, enviable luxury homes, and more.
The 2019 RIBA National Awards has 54 winners, which is up from last year's 49. Most of the winning projects are located in southern England as usual, though there is a notable presence from elsewhere in the UK too this year, especially in Scotland. Housing features strongly, as do projects that involve renovating existing buildings.
The buildings will now be whittled down to a shortlist next month, before the best overall building is eventually chosen for the most important award in British architecture, the Stirling Prize, later this year.
"Despite the political and economic challenges of recent years, our 2019 RIBA National Award winners show that UK architecture is highly adaptable, immensely talented and as community-focused as ever," says RIBA President Ben Derbyshire. "I am particularly heartened that more than one third (20 of 54) of our winners have creatively adapted existing buildings. Given the scale of the global environmental challenge, we must encourage sustainable development and investment in buildings of the highest quality – projects that will inspire and meet the needs of generations to come.
"At a time when the country is crying out for innovative, high-quality affordable housing, I am pleased we have been able to recognize some exemplar schemes. I encourage all local authorities and developers to look to these projects for inspiration and rise to the challenge of building the homes people want and need. Our 2019 RIBA National Award-winning buildings are innovators and mold-breakers – congratulations to every client, architect and construction team for their combined talent and tenacity."
Heatherwick Studio's Coal Drops Yard is a strong contender for this year's Stirling Prize. A standout in the London Awards earlier in the year, the project involved adapting two dilapidated Victorian-era coal storage buildings into a stunning shopping center.
Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners' Macallan New Distillery and Visitor Experience is also superb. Located on the same estate that has been producing Macallan whisky since 1824, the building is defined by an impressive undulating green roof that's described by the firm as one of the most complex timber structures in the world.
Studio Octopi's Writ in Water honors King John of England's signing of Magna Carta in 1215 with a round building located on the spot the document was signed in Surrey. It provides an impeccably-designed place of reflection made up of rammed stone walls crowned by an oculus that allows a small pool to fill with rainwater.
As its name suggests, A Restorative Rural Retreat for Sartfell, by Foster Lomas, is a home located in a rural area in Sartfell, the Isle of Man. Though made from concrete, it's clad in local stone, so takes its place very well in the rugged landscape. It's also very energy-efficient, boasting superb insulation and heat pump-based heating.
Scotland's V&A Dundee is Japanese architect Kengo Kuma's first British project – and here's hoping it's not his last, because it's an outstanding work. The museum is set on the banks of Scotland's longest river and references the local cliffs with a warped and jagged facade.
Head to the gallery to see the rest of the winners of the 2019 RIBA National Awards, including high-end houses, art galleries, regeneration projects, theaters, and more.
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