RIBA announces shortlist for its annual West Midlands Regional Awards

RIBA has announced the shortlist for its annual West Midlands Regional Awards. These projects will be hoping to emulate the success of The Master’s House in Herefordshire, winner of the RIBA West Midlands Building of the Year 2016. Over the years, the awards have become the benchmark in identifying the very best standards in architecture across the West Midlands.

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or over 50 years, the RIBA awards and prizes have championed and celebrated the best architecture in the UK and around the world, no matter the form, size or budget. Successful projects may reflect changes and innovations in architecture, but at their core they display a commitment to designing and developing buildings and spaces for the improvement and enhancement of people’s lives.

All shortlisted buildings will be assessed by a regional jury and the winners of RIBA West Midlands Awards will be announced on 15th May at a celebration evening at the Park Regis, Birmingham. Regional winners will also be considered for a coveted RIBA National Award in recognition of their architectural excellence.

Alan Walters Building, University of Birmingham by Berman Guedes Stretton

The Alan Walters Building provides the Birmingham Business School with a dedicated facility for its postgraduate, MBA and executive programmes. High-quality specialist teaching spaces are provided, including 100-seat Harvard-style and 200-seat raked lecture theatres, mock trading room, 50-seat computer suite and a range of general-purpose teaching rooms. To serve as the social base for the postgraduate cohort, these are augmented by a range of informal social learning spaces, cafe, programme offices and Careers in Business Centre.

Compton Verney Chapel and Landscape Project, Warwickshire, by Purcell

The ‘Capability’ Brown Chapel and Landscape Restoration Project is a scheme of capital and revenue works aimed at conserving Compton Verney’s nationally significant Brownian heritage, enhancing and caring for its ecology and natural history, and providing a range of improved visitor facilities to attract more diverse visitors. The pairing of art gallery and parkland is unique in the area.

Croft Lodge Studio, Leominster, by Kate Darby Architects and David Connor Design

The preservation of a 17th century cottage and the creation of a new house and studio. The strategy was not to renovate or repair the 300-year-old listed building but to preserve it perfectly. This would include the rotten timbers, the dead ivy, the old birds’ nests, the cobwebs and the existing dust. The ruin would be protected from the elements within a new high-performance outer envelope. This means that in most places there would be two walls, two windows and two roofs, old and new. The work was undertaken to create a functioning studio with living accommodation, that could be easily be changed in the future into a house with three bedrooms and two bathrooms.

Forum Health Centre, Coventry, by IDP

The long-standing GP practice recognised through its growing size it was dealing with a better-informed population whose needs were changing. The GP Five-year Forward Plan sought to re-shape traditional primary care by necessitating infrastructure improvements, re-designing services, developing and streamlining the workforce. Forum’s vision to bring together defragmented services into a more cohesive patient journey, improve staff wellbeing and create an innovative environment became key objectives. The principles of ‘healing architecture’ are conveyed through the composition of space, materials, colours and most notably natural daylight, which follows patients and staff on their journey throughout the building.

Jaguar Land Rover Engine Manufacturing Centre, Wolverhampton, by Arup

Jaguar Land Rover’s BREEAM ‘Excellent’ Engine Manufacturing Centre houses 1400 staff and consists of buildings including machine and assembly halls which are flanked by office, social support spaces and community educational centre. Large span steel roof framing, supported on columns spaced at 30m intervals, is arranged with an open truss form to give high-level services distribution, a clear hierarchy, modulated to suit the north light architecture. This incorporated with the sawtooth roof forms breaks down the massive scale to humanise the production space. The essence of the project is its flexibility, allowing for the ongoing development of the manufacturing process.

New Library, University of Birmingham, by Associated Architects

The university required a brand-new 24/7 library giving users a ‘transformational experience’, providing state-of-the-art facilities for students, staff and researchers. It had to be tailormade to suit modern users’ requirements designed to make more of the university’s extraordinary collections accessible to students and staff. In contrast to the 1950s defunct library, the university’s new library needed to be technology-rich housing a variety of learning spaces to cater for different modes of study. Space had to be created for over 2.1 million printed books and journals on 40 miles of shelving.

Remembrance Centre, National Memorial Arboretum, Alrewas, by Glenn Howells Architects

The National Memorial Arboretum is the UK’s year-round centre of remembrance; a spiritually uplifting place which honours the fallen, recognises service and sacrifice and fosters pride in our country. The new £9.9m Remembrance Centre provides a gateway into the 150-acre arboretum and is also home to exhibition, interpretation and retail spaces, along with a restaurant, cafe and learning centre. The design intention was to develop the scheme as a group of ‘pavilions in the landscape,’ each with their own identity but unified by a common architectural language.

St Michael’s Hospice, Hereford, by Architype

Architype and the hospice worked closely to develop the brief, rethinking palliative care requirements to develop a cognitive design that responded to specific user needs, whilst sensitively balancing the building’s character to support patients emotionally. The existing curved 1980s building was in need of significant upgrade and expansion. The refurbishment has repurposed it as the daycare provision, with a large new training suite and office spaces. The old and new buildings are internally linked, increasing the footprint by two thirds. Along a central ‘street’, the new building accommodates 20 private en-suite in-patient bedrooms grouped into four clusters.

The Compound, Birmingham, by BPN Architects

The Compound is a former textile factory located in Birmingham’s Jewellery Quarter. Behind the unassuming facade, Javelin Block has used its unique design approach to transform the building into a place to live, work and display art. Javelin Block responds to a building ‘as found’. The building is a fusion between the historic and industrial aesthetic, presented in a contemporary way. BPN’s role was to support and facilitate ideas from the client’s brief to create a place to live and work and to provide a gallery space for a collection of contemporary art.

The Keyes Building, Worcester, by Associated Architects

On the last site remaining for school redevelopment, the Keyes Building is the culmination of two 10-year masterplans by Associated Architects, working mainly with historic buildings. This site was occupied with outbuildings, a redundant 1950s pub, and scrubby sycamores. Opposite are the listed Worcester Porcelain buildings. In Worcester’s conservation area, this project’s archaeology has revealed that the 5m site fall was once a significant Bronze Age rampart.

The Oculus, University of Warwick, by Berman Guedes Stretton

The Oculus provides the University of Warwick with a new flagship teaching and learning building – the first on the campus to be dedicated purely to teaching and available to all regardless of academic department or discipline. The brief was for a landmark building and an important first step in a new phase of campus development. Our design fulfils this requirement, providing the new architectural direction with a warm palette of natural materials, expansive and generous geometry, and a high degree of transparency and openness.

Writer’s Coach House, Birmingham, by Intervention Architecture

IA has designed and project managed the complete refurbishment and extension of an existing outbuilding, to create a live/work studio for a writer in Birmingham. The project creates an open-plan, one-bedroom studio with a kitchen, bathroom and all-new mains servicing connections. A key approach from the conception of the project was the view of the writer at work, who is now able to enjoy an outlook for inspiration, over the mezzanine level out to the garden via an arched south-facing window.

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