Royal Institute of British Architects announces 2021 National Award winners

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Royal Institute of British Architects announces 2021 National Award winners
The Rye Apartments. Tikari Works. Photo: Jack Hobhouse.

LONDON.- The Royal Institute of British Architects has today (Thursday 9 September) announced the 54 winners of the 2021 RIBA National Awards for architecture. The awards, which have been presented since 1966, recognise the UK’s best new buildings and provide an insight into the UK’s design and economic trends.

This year’s projects showcase the extraordinary breadth and brilliance of UK architecture today. They include a church floating on an East London barge (Floating Church); Tottenham Hotspur’s brand new 60,000 seat stadium (Tottenham Hotspur’s Stadium); a house built within a steel water tower (The Water Tower); a council housing development for people displaced by HS2 (Caudale Housing Scheme); a small, cancer care centre that creates an oasis of hope and support (Maggie’ Cardiff); and a semi-permanent structure protecting one of Scotland’s architectural gems (The Hill House Box).

Key trends among this year’s award winners include:

Sensitive restoration and adaptation of existing buildings

In Bath, a 45-year-old furniture factory has been re-energised for art students (Bath Schools of Art and Design); Winchester Cathedral has undergone sensitive adaptations to aid accessibility and understanding of its medieval heritage (Winchester Cathedral South Transept Exhibition Spaces); in Milton Keynes, the MK Gallery has had a major reconfiguration to transform user experience, whilst remaining true to the original masterplan; and in Canterbury, a 19th century former warehouse has been masterfully converted into a truly modern theatre space (The Malthouse, The King's School, Canterbury).

Investment in arts and culture

Aberdeen Art Gallery has undergone a major redevelopment to create new exhibition and education spaces and revamped back-of-house facilities; English National Ballet has a brand new facility at the Mulryan Centre for Dance to deliver world-class professional training; nestled in the heart of the Lake District, Windemere Jetty Museum provides a new home to tell the stories of boats and steam; and the new permanent exhibition space – The Story of Gardening for The Newt in Somerset – provides a unique, immersive experience where visitors learn about gardening’s impact on culture.

State-of-the-art higher education facilities and schools

Kingston University Town House combines a series of interlocking vertical volumes to provide students with dynamic study, performance and social spaces; the Clore Music Studios at New College Oxford University intelligently squeezes bespoke performance spaces into Oxford’s conservation area; Brighton College’s new School of Science and Sport merges academic and athletic facilities to break down barriers between departments; and the new International College at King's School Canterbury disguises highly effective teaching and boarding spaces within a striking steel-clad structure to reflect the site’s industrial heritage.

Speaking today, RIBA President Simon Allford said: “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.

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.

Looking ahead, as we design the low carbon future, we must start by exploring the retention and reuse of existing buildings. And when a new building is essential, we need to make sure it will last and serve the future well – so it needs to be flexible and reusable. Long life; loose fit; low energy architecture is the present and the future. It is therefore very encouraging to see restoration and sensitive adaptation feature so prominently this year; with many buildings acknowledging their history, the needs of the present and the potential of their dynamic future.

Arts and culture enrich our lives so after 18 months of restrictions and isolation, the array of quality new museums, galleries and performance spaces is great to see and visit!

The 2021 RIBA National Award winners are an intelligent and refreshing collection of exemplary projects. I congratulate every client, architect and construction team for their talent and ambition.”

The 2021 RIBA National Award winners are:


Cambridge Central Mosque by Marks Barfield Architects

Imperial War Museums Paper Store (Duxford) by Architype

Key Worker Housing, Eddington (Cambridge) by Stanton Williams

The Water Tower (Norfolk) by Tonkin Liu


95 Peckham Road (London, SE15) by Peter Barber Architects

Blackfriars Circus (London SE1) by Maccreanor Lavington

Caudale Housing Scheme (London, NW1) Mae Architects

Centre Building at LSE (London, WC2A) by Rogers Stirk Harbour & Partners

Centre for Creative Learning, Francis Holland School (London, SW1W) by BDP

English National Ballet at the Mulryan Centre for Dance (London, E14) by Glenn Howells Architects

Floating Church (London, E15) by Denizen Works

House-within-a-House (London) by alma-nac

Kingston University London - Town House by Grafton Architects

Moore Park Mews (London, SW6) by Stephen Taylor Architects

North Street (London IG11) by Peter Barber Architects

Royal Academy of Arts (London W1J) David Chipperfield Architects

Royal College of Pathologists (London, E1) by Bennetts Associates

The Ray Farringdon (London, EC1R) by Allford Hall Monaghan Morris

The Rye Apartments (London SE15) by Tikari Works

The Standard (London WC1H) by Orms

The Student Centre, UCL (London, WC1H) by Nicholas Hare Architects

Tiger Way (London, E5) by Hawkins\Brown

Tottenham Hotspur Stadium (London, N17) by Populous

Wooden Roof (London, N1) by Tsuruta Architects

Zayed Centre for Research into Rare Disease in Children (London WC1N) by Stanton Williams

North East

Lower Mountjoy Teaching and Learning Centre Durham University by FaulknerBrowns Architects

North West

Pele Tower House (Lake District) by Woollacott Gilmartin Architects

The Gables (Liverpool) by DK-Architects

The Oglesby Centre at Hallé St Peter's (Manchester) by stephenson hamilton risley STUDIO

Windermere Jetty Museum by Carmody Groarke


Aberdeen Art Gallery by Hoskins Architects

Bayes Centre, University of Edinburgh by Bennetts Associates

sportscotland National Sports Training Centre Inverclyde (Largs, North Ayrshire) by Reiach and Hall Architects

The Egg Shed (Ardrishaig, Lochgilphead) by Oliver Chapman Architects

The Hill House Box (Helensburgh) by Carmody Groarke

South & South East

Brighton College - School of Science and Sport by Office for Metropolitan Architecture

Library and Study Centre St Johns College Oxford University by Wright & Wright Architects

MK Gallery (Milton Keynes) by 6a architects

Moor's Nook (Woking) by Coffey Architects

The Clore Music Studios New College Oxford University, John McAslan + Partners

The Dorothy Wadham Building Wadham College Oxford University, Allies and Morrison

The King's School, Canterbury International College by Walters & Cohen Architects

The Malthouse, The King's School Canterbury by Tim Ronalds Architects

The Narula House (Berkshire) by John Pardey Architects

Walmer Castle and Gardens Learning Centre (Dover) by Adam Richards Architects

Winchester Cathedral South Transept Exhibition Spaces by Nick Cox Architects with Metaphor Metaphor

South West

Bath Schools of Art and Design by Grimshaw

Redhill Barn (Devon) by TYPE Studio

The Story of Gardening Museum (Somerset) by Stonewood Design with Mark Thomas Architects and Henry Fagan Engineering

Tintagel Castle Footbridge for English Heritage (Cornwall) by Ney & Partners and William Matthews Associates

Windward House (Gloucestershire) by Alison Brooks Architects


Maggie's Cardiff by Dow Jones Architects

West Midlands

Jaguar Land Rover Advanced Product Creation Centre (Warwickshire) by Bennetts Associates

Prof Lord Bhattacharyya Building University of Warwick by Cullinan Studio

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