After much deliberation, the judges eventually declared a dead heat for the UK Architectural Design Awards between Feilden Clegg Bradley’s Westfield Student Village, Queen Mary University of London and Marks Barfield Architects’ Spiral Café, Birmingham. The two winning projects are completely different in their intentions, locations, scale and budget – but both achieve their aims with panache. Marks Barfield Architects’ Spiral Café is an artistic response at a modest scale to a challenging, major urban site. It fully exploits a geometric idea to generate an intriguing form that is nonetheless functional - a simple concept, delivered in a way that is not clichéd. In contrast, Feilden Clegg Bradley’s Westfield Student Village is a substantial development showing that, even with the budgetary constraints of higher education, architecture of a high quality is possible for student dwellings, using the qualities of copper to contribute to a mixed urban landscape.
Other Awards included a Commendation for Page and Park’s Maggie’s Highlands Cancer Care Centre, which also won the Craftsmanship prize.
There was also a cash prize for the best student project from UK schools of architecture and craftsmanship awards. This year’s Student Winner was Poppy Kirkwood of the Bartlett School with an intriguing water bottling factory project while James Curtis of Oxford Brookes University and Stefan Krakhofer of the University of East London were both Commended.
The European Awards saw a clear winner with Kari Jarvinen Ja Merja Nieminen’s beautiful Laajasalo Church in Finland, and a Commendation for Staab Architekten’s Service Centre on Theresienwiese, Munich in Germany. The winning Laajasalo Church uses copper in ‘strata’, almost like a cliff face, with soft colours and controlled tones, which will develop over time, adding to the harmonious relationship with its natural landscape setting. The build-up of copper panels is concealed with flat, striated surfaces creating an extreme horizontality and tactile quality. The light, airy interior spaces also possess a strong quality and all the materials used blend harmoniously.
In contrast, Staab Architekten’s commended Service Centre on Theresienwiese, Munich in Germany is a bold, monolithic building, forged from a perforated copper screen, which could be considered as a bar of gold in the landscape, particularly intriguing to visitors. A rigorously executed abstract statement, this is an extreme solution which works well in its sensitive location, possessing a calmness which modifies our sense of scale.
The Awards attracted some sixty entries in total and the panel of architect and critic judges commented on the particularly high standard of design and presentation.