The very best, recently- built architecture in our region is being celebrated after the Royal Institute of British Architects announced the winners of its RIBA Yorkshire awards 2021. Eight projects were given awards, including St Albans Place in Leeds by Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios, which won the Yorkshire Building of the Year 2021 prize.
It was commissioned by student accommodation specialist VITA and is part of the New Briggate regeneration area. Its three towers are clad in single glazed terracotta tiles, which have a good historical precedence in the city centre, while the interesting woven pattern acknowledges Leeds’ textile heritage. The building, which has a green roof and a mechanical heat and ventilation system, sits within what was formerly an unloved park. This is now a safe and managed green space with improved public realm among retained mature trees and has been transformative for the area.
The building shelters the park both from the weather and from the sight and sound of the dual carriageway, making it a pleasant space to be in. The jury concluded: “Overall, the viability of most student accommodation schemes demands large numbers of bedrooms and this scheme has skilfully broken down the large mass and added interest to the skyline. The scheme was delivered with a Design and Build contract and the architects also delivered the interior design, which again is well detailed and popular with the students, despite having to operate the building through the pandemic over the last 16 months. This is a challenging sector to design in and this project deserves to be Building of the Year.”
The other RIBA award-winning projects include Barrow House, Lincolnshire, by id architecture; Leeds Playhouse, Leeds, by Page\Park Architects; Manor Ridge Barns, Slingsby, North Yorkshire, by TAS Architects; Nexus, Leeds, by Associated Architects; The Old School, Howsham, North Yorkshire, by ArkleBoyce Architects; University of Sheffield Engineering Heartspace by Bond Bryan and Thorney Barn, Luddendenfoot, by Gagarin Studio.
RIBA’s regional jury chair, Peter Cartwright Founding Director of Cartwright Pickard, said: “It was a great privilege to visit the buildings on this year’s RIBA Yorkshire Awards shortlist, see the completed schemes in person and listen to those involved in delivering them.
“Great architecture is not restricted to large projects with big budgets and often award-winning buildings demonstrate how the design team has made difficult decisions to create a building that meets the client’s brief and budget. Good buildings must also be easy to maintain and operate sustainably.”
Further special awards have been awarded for Sustainability (sponsored by Michelmersh), Small Project, Client of the Year and Project Architect of the Year (Sponsored by Taylor Maxwell). A sustainability award went to Leeds Playhouse; small project award to Arkle Boyce; Client of the Year to the University of Sheffield and Project Architect of the Year to Steve Gittner of Gagarin Studio
The RIBA Yorkshire winners will now be considered for a RIBA National Award in recognition of their architectural excellence, which will be announced on September 9, 2021. The shortlist for the RIBA Stirling Prize for the best building of the year will be drawn from the RIBA National Award-winning projects later in the year.