Architecture

Best of British architecture celebrated with 2021 RIBA National Awards

Best of British architecture c...
Cambridge Central Mosque was designed by Marks Barfield Architects and hosts 1,000 worshipers in a beautiful new mosque that takes its place well within a low rise, residential neighborhood
Cambridge Central Mosque was designed by Marks Barfield Architects and hosts 1,000 worshipers in a beautiful new mosque that takes its place well within a low rise, residential neighborhood
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95 Peckham Road was designed by Peter Barber Architects and is located in London. The project is a distinctive tenement-style mansion block comprising new residences
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95 Peckham Road was designed by Peter Barber Architects and is located in London. The project is a distinctive tenement-style mansion block comprising new residences
Aberdeen Art Gallery was designed by Hoskins Architects and is located in Scotland. The project involved an extensive renovation of an important gallery space over a decade
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Aberdeen Art Gallery was designed by Hoskins Architects and is located in Scotland. The project involved an extensive renovation of an important gallery space over a decade
Bath Schools of Art was designed by Grimshaw and is located in Bath Spa University. Grimshaw transformed a former industrial building into new schools of art and design
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Bath Schools of Art was designed by Grimshaw and is located in Bath Spa University. Grimshaw transformed a former industrial building into new schools of art and design
Bayes Centre, University of Edinburgh in Scotland was designed by Bennetts Associates. The project is the final phase of the University of Edinburgh's Potterrow development, which began in 2003
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Bayes Centre, University of Edinburgh in Scotland was designed by Bennetts Associates. The project is the final phase of the University of Edinburgh's Potterrow development, which began in 2003
Blackfriars Circus was designed by Maccreanor Lavington Limited and is located in London. It consists of a group of new buildings and creates 336 new homes for the area
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Blackfriars Circus was designed by Maccreanor Lavington Limited and is located in London. It consists of a group of new buildings and creates 336 new homes for the area
Brighton College, School of Science and Sport was designed by Office for Metropolitan Architecture. It includes classrooms, laboratories, a greenhouse, and more
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Brighton College, School of Science and Sport was designed by Office for Metropolitan Architecture. It includes classrooms, laboratories, a greenhouse, and more
Cambridge Central Mosque was designed by Marks Barfield Architects and hosts 1,000 worshipers in a beautiful new mosque that takes its place well within a low rise, residential neighborhood
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Cambridge Central Mosque was designed by Marks Barfield Architects and hosts 1,000 worshipers in a beautiful new mosque that takes its place well within a low rise, residential neighborhood
Caudale Housing Scheme was designed by Mae Architects and is located in London. The project provides much-needed affordable housing for the area
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Caudale Housing Scheme was designed by Mae Architects and is located in London. The project provides much-needed affordable housing for the area
Centre Building at the LSE was designed by Rogers Stirk Harbour & Partners and is located in London. It creates a state of the art academic and teaching building in the London School of Economics
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Centre Building at the LSE was designed by Rogers Stirk Harbour & Partners and is located in London. It creates a state of the art academic and teaching building in the London School of Economics
Centre for Creative Learning - Francis Holland School was designed by BDP and is located in London. The project is part of a wider masterplan to best utilize every space in a 140-year-old school
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Centre for Creative Learning - Francis Holland School was designed by BDP and is located in London. The project is part of a wider masterplan to best utilize every space in a 140-year-old school
English National Ballet was designed by Glenn Howells Architects and is located in London. As its name suggests, it serves as a new home to the famous dance group
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English National Ballet was designed by Glenn Howells Architects and is located in London. As its name suggests, it serves as a new home to the famous dance group
Floating Church was designed by Denizen Works and is located in London. It serves as a mobile floating church and is defined by a novel concertina roof structure that can be flattened to allow it to pass under canal bridges
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Floating Church was designed by Denizen Works and is located in London. It serves as a mobile floating church and is defined by a novel concertina roof structure that can be flattened to allow it to pass under canal bridges
House-within-a-House was designed by alma-nac and is located in London. It consists of a three-story, six-bed, detached family home in a conservation area
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House-within-a-House was designed by alma-nac and is located in London. It consists of a three-story, six-bed, detached family home in a conservation area
Imperial War Museums Paper Store was designed by Architype and is located in Cambridge. The project is incredibly energy efficient and on completion in 2019 was the most airtight Passivhaus project to date
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Imperial War Museums Paper Store was designed by Architype and is located in Cambridge. The project is incredibly energy efficient and on completion in 2019 was the most airtight Passivhaus project to date
Jaguar Land Rover Advanced Product Creation Centre was designed by Bennetts Associates and is located in Warwickshire. The project combines three different areas under one roof and is designed to improve the lives of the carmaker's workforce
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Jaguar Land Rover Advanced Product Creation Centre was designed by Bennetts Associates and is located in Warwickshire. The project combines three different areas under one roof and is designed to improve the lives of the carmaker's workforce
Key Worker Housing was designed by Stanton Williams and is located in Cambridge. It consists of 264 worker homes, as well as generous social spaces and retail facilities
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Key Worker Housing was designed by Stanton Williams and is located in Cambridge. It consists of 264 worker homes, as well as generous social spaces and retail facilities
Kingston University London – Town House was designed by Grafton Architects and is located in London. The project creates a new dance studio and library in the university
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Kingston University London – Town House was designed by Grafton Architects and is located in London. The project creates a new dance studio and library in the university
Library and Study was designed by Wright & Wright Architects and is located in Oxford. It creates a new library and study center in St John's College
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Library and Study was designed by Wright & Wright Architects and is located in Oxford. It creates a new library and study center in St John's College
Lower Mountjoy Teaching and Learning Centre was designed by FaulknerBrowns Architects and is located in Durham. It's designed to provide an inclusive and welcoming environment for teaching and learning
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Lower Mountjoy Teaching and Learning Centre was designed by FaulknerBrowns Architects and is located in Durham. It's designed to provide an inclusive and welcoming environment for teaching and learning
Maggie's Cardiff was designed by Dow Jones Architects and is located in Wales. The project is the 19th Maggie's center and provides support to people suffering from cancer and their families
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Maggie's Cardiff was designed by Dow Jones Architects and is located in Wales. The project is the 19th Maggie's center and provides support to people suffering from cancer and their families
MK Gallery was designed by 6a architects and is located in Milton Keynes. The project involved renovating the existing building to increase space and light inside
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MK Gallery was designed by 6a architects and is located in Milton Keynes. The project involved renovating the existing building to increase space and light inside
Moor's Nook was designed by Coffey Architects and is located in Woking. The project is a development of 34 apartments on the site of a former industrial laundry
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Moor's Nook was designed by Coffey Architects and is located in Woking. The project is a development of 34 apartments on the site of a former industrial laundry
Moore Park Mews was designed by Stephen Taylor Architects and is located in London. The project created four detached houses on an awkward triangular plot
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Moore Park Mews was designed by Stephen Taylor Architects and is located in London. The project created four detached houses on an awkward triangular plot
The Narula House was designed by John Pardey Architects and is located in Wargrave. It consists of a beautiful private home in a high-risk flood area
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The Narula House was designed by John Pardey Architects and is located in Wargrave. It consists of a beautiful private home in a high-risk flood area
North Street was designed by Peter Barber Architects and is located in London. The project consists of 14 new homes on a small and awkward strip of land, previously thought unsuitable for development
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North Street was designed by Peter Barber Architects and is located in London. The project consists of 14 new homes on a small and awkward strip of land, previously thought unsuitable for development
Pele Tower House was designed by Woollacott Gilmartin Architects and is located in Cumbria. It involved transforming a decaying group of historic buildings into a 21st century family home
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Pele Tower House was designed by Woollacott Gilmartin Architects and is located in Cumbria. It involved transforming a decaying group of historic buildings into a 21st century family home
Prof Lord Bhattacharyya Building was designed by Cullinan Studio and is located in Coventry. The building brings together academic and industry research in the same sustainable building to foster innovation and collaboration
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Prof Lord Bhattacharyya Building was designed by Cullinan Studio and is located in Coventry. The building brings together academic and industry research in the same sustainable building to foster innovation and collaboration
Redhill Barn was designed by TYPE Studio and is located in Devon. The project is a beautiful example of a modern barn conversion done right
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Redhill Barn was designed by TYPE Studio and is located in Devon. The project is a beautiful example of a modern barn conversion done right
Royal Academy of Arts was designed by David Chipperfield Architects and is located in London. The project involved linking the historic Royal Academy of Art on Piccadilly to another nearby historic building designed in the 1860s as a Senate House for the University of London
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Royal Academy of Arts was designed by David Chipperfield Architects and is located in London. The project involved linking the historic Royal Academy of Art on Piccadilly to another nearby historic building designed in the 1860s as a Senate House for the University of London
Royal College of Pathologists was designed by Bennetts Associates and is located in London. It creates a new headquarters for the Royal College of Pathologists in Aldgate on the existing foundations of the partially demolished building that occupied the site previously
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Royal College of Pathologists was designed by Bennetts Associates and is located in London. It creates a new headquarters for the Royal College of Pathologists in Aldgate on the existing foundations of the partially demolished building that occupied the site previously
SportScotland National Centre Inverclyde was designed by Reiach and Hall Architects and is located in North Ayrshire. It is described as the UK's first inclusive residential sports facility and caters for both elite athletes and the local community
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SportScotland National Centre Inverclyde was designed by Reiach and Hall Architects and is located in North Ayrshire. It is described as the UK's first inclusive residential sports facility and caters for both elite athletes and the local community
The Clore Music Studios, New College, Oxford University was designed by John McAslan + Partners. It creates new music studios and performance spaces that respect the surrounding architecture
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The Clore Music Studios, New College, Oxford University was designed by John McAslan + Partners. It creates new music studios and performance spaces that respect the surrounding architecture
The Dorothy Wadham was designed by Allies and Morrison and is located in Oxford. It creates a new undergraduate residential quad comprising four individual buildings around a shared garden area
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The Dorothy Wadham was designed by Allies and Morrison and is located in Oxford. It creates a new undergraduate residential quad comprising four individual buildings around a shared garden area
The Egg Shed was designed by Oliver Chapman Architects and is located in Scotland. It was created to improve the built environment of Ardrishaig's waterfront, and to increase the tourist facilities locally
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The Egg Shed was designed by Oliver Chapman Architects and is located in Scotland. It was created to improve the built environment of Ardrishaig's waterfront, and to increase the tourist facilities locally
The Gables was designed by DK-Architects and is located in Liverpool. It creates 30 new attractive homes, 20 percent of which are deemed affordable housing
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The Gables was designed by DK-Architects and is located in Liverpool. It creates 30 new attractive homes, 20 percent of which are deemed affordable housing
The Hill House Box was designed by Carmody Groarke and is located in Scotland. The renovation project protects Charles Rennie Mackintosh's historic Hill House from water damage
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The Hill House Box was designed by Carmody Groarke and is located in Scotland. The renovation project protects Charles Rennie Mackintosh's historic Hill House from water damage
The King's School, Canterbury International College was designed by Walters & Cohen Architects. It consists of a simple but well-designed building providing classrooms and communal spaces on the ground floor and accommodation above
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The King's School, Canterbury International College was designed by Walters & Cohen Architects. It consists of a simple but well-designed building providing classrooms and communal spaces on the ground floor and accommodation above
The Malthouse was designed by Tim Ronalds Architects and is located in Canterbury. It creates an attractive new theater for King's School
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The Malthouse was designed by Tim Ronalds Architects and is located in Canterbury. It creates an attractive new theater for King's School
The Oglesby Centre at Hallé St Peter's was designed by Stephenson Hamilton Risley Studio and is located in Manchester. It expands the historic St Peter's Church
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The Oglesby Centre at Hallé St Peter's was designed by Stephenson Hamilton Risley Studio and is located in Manchester. It expands the historic St Peter's Church
The Ray, Farringdon was designed by Allford Hall Monaghan Morris and is located in London. It is a contemporary office building that fits in well with the local buildings
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The Ray, Farringdon was designed by Allford Hall Monaghan Morris and is located in London. It is a contemporary office building that fits in well with the local buildings
The Rye Apartments was designed by Tikari Works and is located in London. It consists of two small blocks of apartments and is described as a labor of love by its creator
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The Rye Apartments was designed by Tikari Works and is located in London. It consists of two small blocks of apartments and is described as a labor of love by its creator
The Standard, London was designed by Orms and is located in London. The project transformed a brutalist former town hall annexe into a 266-room hotel
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The Standard, London was designed by Orms and is located in London. The project transformed a brutalist former town hall annexe into a 266-room hotel
The Story of Gardening was designed by Stonewood Design with Mark Thomas Architects, plus Henry Fagan, and is located in Somerset. It consists of a museum and visitor center that is partially hidden by the rolling landscape
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The Story of Gardening was designed by Stonewood Design with Mark Thomas Architects, plus Henry Fagan, and is located in Somerset. It consists of a museum and visitor center that is partially hidden by the rolling landscape
The Student Centre UCL was designed by Nicholas Hare Architects and is located in University College London. It creates new student facilities and is conceived as a giant wraparound staircase with inhabited landings
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The Student Centre UCL was designed by Nicholas Hare Architects and is located in University College London. It creates new student facilities and is conceived as a giant wraparound staircase with inhabited landings
The Water Tower was designed by Tonkin Liu and is located in Castle Acre. It involved transforming an old water tower into an extraordinary family home
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The Water Tower was designed by Tonkin Liu and is located in Castle Acre. It involved transforming an old water tower into an extraordinary family home
Tiger Way was designed by Hawkins Brown and is located in London. It consists of a school and residential block that are focused around natural ventilation and have lots of daylight inside
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Tiger Way was designed by Hawkins Brown and is located in London. It consists of a school and residential block that are focused around natural ventilation and have lots of daylight inside
Tintagel Castle Footbridge was designed by Ney & Partners and William Matthews Associates and is located in Cornwall. The project is one of six to feature in the 2021 RIBA Stirling Prize shortlist
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Tintagel Castle Footbridge was designed by Ney & Partners and William Matthews Associates and is located in Cornwall. The project is one of six to feature in the 2021 RIBA Stirling Prize shortlist
Tottenham Hotspur Stadium was designed by Populous and is located in London. It creates a new and more energy efficient stadium for the English soccer team
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Tottenham Hotspur Stadium was designed by Populous and is located in London. It creates a new and more energy efficient stadium for the English soccer team
Walmer Castle and Gardens Learning Centre was designed by Adam Richards Architects and is located in Kent. The learning center's windows and brickwork reflect the neighboring historic buildings
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Walmer Castle and Gardens Learning Centre was designed by Adam Richards Architects and is located in Kent. The learning center's windows and brickwork reflect the neighboring historic buildings
Winchester Cathedral South Transept Exhibition Spaces was designed by Nick Cox Architects with Metaphor. It involved renovating and modernizing the historic cathedral
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Winchester Cathedral South Transept Exhibition Spaces was designed by Nick Cox Architects with Metaphor. It involved renovating and modernizing the historic cathedral
Windermere Jetty Museum was designed by Carmody Groarke. The multi-building project creates a new museum on the eastern shore of Lake Windermere
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Windermere Jetty Museum was designed by Carmody Groarke. The multi-building project creates a new museum on the eastern shore of Lake Windermere
Windward House was designed by Alison Brooks Architects and is located in Lydney. It consists of an extension to an 18th century farmhouse on an exceptionally beautiful site
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Windward House was designed by Alison Brooks Architects and is located in Lydney. It consists of an extension to an 18th century farmhouse on an exceptionally beautiful site
Wooden Roof was designed by Tsuruta Architects and is located in London. The project creates a finely crafted timber extension to an existing historic home
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Wooden Roof was designed by Tsuruta Architects and is located in London. The project creates a finely crafted timber extension to an existing historic home
Zayed Centre for Research into Rare Disease in Children was designed by Stanton Williams and is located in London. The building sits on a busy road and features a glazed facade through which passersby can look down into the research laboratories inside
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Zayed Centre for Research into Rare Disease in Children was designed by Stanton Williams and is located in London. The building sits on a busy road and features a glazed facade through which passersby can look down into the research laboratories inside
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The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) has unveiled the winners of its 2021 National Awards. Featuring the very best new buildings the UK has to offer, the awards include everything from stunning places of worship to luxury homes and historic renovations.

The 2021 RIBA National Awards has a total of 54 winners, which is the same number as 2019 (2020 was cancelled due to COVID-19). Most of the winners are located in southern England, London in particular, though there are still several notable projects elsewhere in England, as well as a few in Scotland. Wales is represented with just one project this year, while Northern Ireland has none.

"Ranging from radical, cutting-edge new designs to clever, creative restorations that breathe new life into historic buildings, these projects illustrate the enduring importance and impact of British architecture," says RIBA President Simon Allford. "There are a good number of well-designed school and university buildings that are powerful investments in the future, and I am sure they will inspire young people, their teachers and communities. I am also thrilled to see many of these make creative use of existing structures. Well-designed education facilities should be the rule rather than the exception – every child deserves an effective learning environment, and these projects provide rich inspiration."

The large collection of buildings will be reduced to a more manageable shortlist soon, before the best of the best is chosen for the most prestigious award in British architecture, the Stirling Prize, later in the year. We've highlighted some of our favorite projects below, but head to the gallery to see all 54 winners of the 2021 RIBA National Awards.

Floating Church was designed by Denizen Works and is located in London. It serves as a mobile floating church and is defined by a novel concertina roof structure that can be flattened to allow it to pass under canal bridges
Floating Church was designed by Denizen Works and is located in London. It serves as a mobile floating church and is defined by a novel concertina roof structure that can be flattened to allow it to pass under canal bridges

Denizen Works' unorthodox floating church is a definite standout project. Named Genesis after the first book of the Bible, the floating place of worship is based on a canal boat.

It's currently moored in a canal at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, in London, where it will remain for up to five years, before traveling along the water to other communities. Its eye-catching roof is inspired by organ bellows and is actually very useful: like an old pop-top VW bus, it can be lowered or raised, as required, allowing it to pass beneath bridges while still offering plenty of space inside.

The Water Tower was designed by Tonkin Liu and is located in Castle Acre. It involved transforming an old water tower into an extraordinary family home
The Water Tower was designed by Tonkin Liu and is located in Castle Acre. It involved transforming an old water tower into an extraordinary family home

Tonkin Liu's Water Tower is another excellent example. This ambitious project turned a derelict water tower and local landmark in rural Norfolk into a one-of-a-kind second home for a family.

The building is divided into the residence itself and a stair and elevator tower for access. Inside the home proper is a ground floor kitchen and dining area, there are two floors of bedrooms, and another uppermost level that combines living, dining, and kitchen facilities. This area also offers panoramic views of the beautiful landscape.

The Hill House Box was designed by Carmody Groarke and is located in Scotland. The renovation project protects Charles Rennie Mackintosh's historic Hill House from water damage
The Hill House Box was designed by Carmody Groarke and is located in Scotland. The renovation project protects Charles Rennie Mackintosh's historic Hill House from water damage

The Hill House Box showcases a radical approach to conservation. Scottish architectural great Charles Rennie Mackintosh's masterpiece Hill House was facing ruin due to prolonged water damage, so Carmody Groarke's answer was to encase it in a large box with a chainmail mesh that will help keep it safe and dry, as part of a larger conservation process.

The best part of this approach is that it allows the site to remain open to the public and the demountable structure contains a reception, café and toilets. Additionally, a series of walkways over the roof allow visitors to see the house from a bird's eye view.

Source: RIBA

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2 comments
2 comments
Username
Most of these range from uninspired to down right ugly.
VR
Agreed...there is very little here that raises the spirit. It is mere utilitarianism, brutalism (in some cases) and looks like it was designed by the lowest bidder, let alone built by one. In the old days, the British were known for exceptional architecture. Those days are gone.