Kingston University Town House Designed by Grafton Architects Wins 2021 RIBA Stirling Prize

Kingston University Town House Designed by Grafton Architects Wins 2021 RIBA Stirling Prize

The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) announced Kingston University London Town House designed by Grafton Architects as the 2021 RIBA Stirling Prize winner. The distinction recognizes the projects’ progressive approach to the educational program, crafting a democratic, open space that fosters appropriation and social cohesion. The design resulting from a 2013 RIBA Competition is the Pritzker laureates Yvonne Farrell and Shelley McNamara’s first project in the UK.

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© Dennis Gilbert

Intended as a connection between the student population at Kingston University and the local community, the Town House establishes a new civic space that facilitates learning while encouraging collaboration and fostering a sense of belonging. The building’s colonnade extends the public space, turning the project into an inviting presence at street level. At the interior, voids and staircases link the various functions shaping a diverse experience where activities interweave.

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© Dennis Gilbert

Kingston University Town House is a theatre for life – a warehouse of ideas. It seamlessly brings together student and town communities, creating a progressive new model for higher education, well-deserving of international acclaim and attention. In this highly original work of architecture, quiet reading, loud performance, research and learning, can delightfully co-exist. That is no mean feat. Education must be our future – and this must be the future of education. - Norman Foster, on behalf of the 2021 RIBA Stirling Prize jury


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The way the design manages to capture the spirit of learning and produce an inspiring environment motivated the choice of the winning project. In its report, the jury praised the spatial solving of the opposing uses, a dance studio and a library, as well as the resulting dynamic. Execution, detailing and acoustics were also acknowledged, as was the environmental performance of the building. Grafton Architects’ project is the recipient of numerous RIBA awards, including the National and Regional awards and the London South West Award.

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© Alice Clancy

We imagined a place where students would feel at home. This building is about people, interaction, light, possibilities. It is about connecting to the community, the passer-by, an invitation to cross the threshold, a three-dimensional framework with layers of silence and layers of sound. Space, volume and light are the organizers. The building edges are not boundaries but active gathering spaces, terraces, galleries. Being outside under the big sky is always just a few steps away. Kingston University gave us this educational vision which we translated into a spatial open matrix. We are absolutely delighted the Kingston Town House has won the prestigious Stirling Prize. - Grafton Architects

Chaired by Norman Foster, the jury of the 25th edition of the award included RIBA President Simon Allford, 2019 RIBA Stirling Prize winner Annalie Riches, artist Dame Phyllida Barlow, and was advised by architect and sustainability expert Mina Hasman. The shortlisted projects for UK’s Best New Building this year were Tintagel Castle Footbridge by Ney & Partners and William Matthews Associates, Cambridge Central Mosque by Marks Barfield Architects, Key Worker Housing in Cambridge by Stanton Williams, Windermere Jetty Museum by Carmody Groarke and 15 Clerkenwell Close by Groupwork + Amin Taha Architects.

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© Alice Clancy

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Cite: Andreea Cutieru. "Kingston University Town House Designed by Grafton Architects Wins 2021 RIBA Stirling Prize " 15 Oct 2021. ArchDaily. Accessed . <https://www.archdaily.com/970213/kingston-university-town-house-designed-by-grafton-architects-wins-2021-riba-stirling-prize> ISSN 0719-8884

© Ed Reeve

2021 RIBA 斯特林奖:伦敦金斯顿大学学习中心 / Grafton Architects

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