IMPORTANT Read the RIBA's latest COVID-19 advice and information | Website terms of use and cookie statement

Stephen Lawrence Prize

The Water Tower

Stephen Lawrence Prize 2021

The Stephen Lawrence Prize rewards the best projects with a construction budget of less than £1 million

Stephen Lawrence Prize 2021 winner: The Water Tower

RIBA has named The Water Tower by Tonkin Liu as the winner of the Stephen Lawrence Prize 2021.

Originally an industrial steel water tower, the building has been reinvented and restored to create a unique rural family home. The landmark masterfully retains much of the original metal structure; inside a spiral timber staircase and lift lead to the original water tank, which has become a cantilevered, open-plan living space. It has adaptable interiors, including seating that can be moved around the main tank room.

The Water Tower is an ingenious eco-build that accommodates its natural setting, utilising its roof terrace and room placements to overlook and appreciate the surrounding Norfolk countryside.

The Prize was established in 1998 in memory of Stephen Lawrence, a teenager who was on his way to becoming an architect when he was tragically murdered in 1993. Supported and founded by the Marco Goldschmied Foundation, the Prize aims to encourage new architectural talent, celebrating and rewarding projects with a construction budget of less than £1 million. The winner is provided with a £5,000 bursary.

Marco Goldschmied said:

“The Water Tower demonstrates how buildings can be saved and enlivened through expert retrofitting, high-quality craftsmanship and faultless attention to detail. The jury unanimously commend Tonkin Liu – the worthy recipient of the 22nd Stephen Lawrence Prize – and their ambitious client for their creativity and dedication. With the positive support and involvement of the local community they have breathed new life into this historic rural structure to create a truly unique family home. 
As we have done on three previous occasions we would also like to give a special mention and £1,000 award to Floating Church by Denizen Works, a multi-purpose church and community facility that sits upon a London narrowboat.”

Read more about The Water Tower.
Banner photo by Dennis Pedersen


Stephen Lawrence Prize 2021 jury

The judges for the 2021 Stephen Lawrence Prize were:

  • Baroness Lawrence of Clarendon, Doreen Lawrence OBE, the mother of Stephen Lawrence
  • Marco Goldschmied, RIBA Past President and Founder of the Marco Goldschmeid Foundation, which established the Stephen Lawrence Prize in 1998
  • Mary Duggan, Mary Duggan Architects
  • Dido Milne, CSK Architects, winners of the 2019 Stephen Lawrence Prize

2014 - House No.7, Isle of Tree by Denizen Works

2013 - Montpelier Community Nursery, London by AY Architects

2012 - King’s Grove, London by Duggan Morris Architects

2011 - St Patrick’s School Library and Music Room, London by Coffey Architects

2010 - Artists’ House, London by Gumuchdjian Architects

2009 - El Ray, Dungeness by Simon Conder Associates

2008 - The Sackler Crossing, London by John Pawson

2007 - Wooda Auditorium, Cornwall by David Sheppard Architects

2006 - Wrap House, London by Alison Brooks Architects

2005 - House, Clonakilty, by Níall McLaughlin Architects

2004 - Vista, Dungeness by Simon Conder Associates

2003 - Think Tank, Skibbereen by Gumuchdjian Architects

2002 - Westborough Cardboard Building, Westcliff-on-Sea by Cottrell & Vermeulen

2001 - Hatherley Studio, Winchester by Richard Rose-Casemore

2000 - Kielder Belvedere, Northumberland by Softroom

1999 - Roche Court Sculpture Gallery, Wiltshire by Munkenbeck + Marshall

1998 - Terrasson, France by Ian Ritchie Architects

keyboard_arrow_up To top