The AIA UK Chapter hosted the Excellence in Design Awards Gala 2017 on the 19th April at the Royal College of Physicians (RCP) in London. The Grade-I listed building designed by Denys Lasdun, itself considered an architectural treasure, provided an exceptional backdrop to celebrate design excellence and welcome the guests who arrived from different parts of the world to celebrate creativity, design and architecture.
The AIA UK sets an open awards platform in order to minimise restrictions and provide more opportunities for architects and designers to submit their projects. This year the AIA UK set two key categories : Professional and Young Architect. The Young Architect category is aimed at encouraging and rewarding younger architects and emerging practices with design principals under the age of 40.
The AIA UK is delighted to announce the 2017 winners in each category:
- Professional: Foster + Partners for the Maggie’s at the Robert Parfett Building
- Young Architect: Spheron Architects for the Belarusian Memorial Chapel
The jury also awarded three Commendations to the following projects in the Professional category:
- Peter Salter Associates for Walmer Yard
- Stanton Williams for the Berrow Foundation Building and the New Garden Building
- Zaha Hadid Architects – Maritime Terminal, Salerno
The jury’s review process involved a day-long, debate over the anonymous submissions, clearly indicating the high quality of the submissions received. The jury members presented the commendations and awards at the Gala evening.
The members of the jury included: Stephen Hodder, Jessica Mairs, Sophy Twohig, Patrick Lynch, Ben Derbyshire, and Fatos Peja.
Professional Category Winner
Foster + Partners for the Maggie’s at the Robert Parfett Building
Alex Miller, Vice President of the AIA UK, and Michael Lischer FAIA presented the Professional award and conveyed the juries comments on the Maggie’s at the Robert Parfett Building noting,
“The jury congratulate this building as part of the canon of Maggie’s Centres, bringing another unique space to fruition that architecturally addresses the important mission of supporting the caring process.”
The building was commended for the use of expressed structure and glazing that makes the building look extremely light. The building provides spaces both for engagement and quiet contemplation. The jury found the building to exhibit a refreshing use of timber. The jury also noted it as a pavilion with a strong relationship to its sequence of garden spaces.
Accepting the award, Darron Haylock, Partner, Foster + Partners said:
“Our work on the Maggie's centre in Manchester was a collaborative effort, with the client, fabricators and the design team all working together to create a building that is homely and uplifting to provide a place of calm refuge for cancer patients. We have been overwhelmed by the response we have got from the Maggie's team and the building’s users since the centre opened last year. We would like to thank Maggie’s who were wonderfully supportive throughout process and have embraced the building making it friendly and comforting for all those that visit.”
Young Architect Winner
Spheron Architects for the Belarusian Memorial Chapel
The Young Architect Category was presented by Jessica Mairs, architecture editor of Dezeen. The chapel has a particular sensitivity to a very specific brief, for a place for worship for the Belarusian community in Woodside Park, North London that also acts as a memorial for the Chernoybl nuclear disaster of 1986.
On behalf of the jury, she remarked,
“Among its various virtues is its clear homage to the vernacular wooden churches of rural Belarus through its decorative, domed spire and its shingled roof, but also its inclusion of subtle yet inventive detailing such as its undulating, slatted timber walls and the resulting linear windows that emit light from within to allow the building to serve its function as a memorial even when its shuts at night.”
As part of this year’s awards, student submissions were also reviewed by the AIA UK chapter in a separate category as part of the chapter’s Noel Hill Student Awards program. The chapter selected The Mirrored Pavilion by Robert Gordon University student Lucy Fisher. Unusually for the student awards category, this is a project that was constructed and installed as a temporary pavilion for the Look Again Festival in Aberdeen’s Castlegate after having been selected by popular vote.