RIBA Competitions and Kingston University in London are pleased to announce Grafton Architects as the winner of the selection process to develop initial design concepts for a proposed building and public realm improvements at Middle Mill, located to the southeast of the university’s Knights Park campus.
Sixty entries were received from architectural practices, with six teams shortlisted to proceed to the second phase of the selection process. After careful consideration by the evaluation panel, Grafton Architects was selected as the overall winner.
Grafton Architects has worked on a range of internationally acclaimed projects across the globe. In 2020, they were awarded the RIBA Royal Gold Medal in recognition of their significant influence on the advancement of architecture.
The Dublin-based practice already has strong links with Kingston University, having designed its RIBA Stirling Prize and EU Mies van der Rohe award-winning Kingston University London - Town House building at the Penrhyn Road campus. The landmark building was the first to be designed by Grafton in the United Kingdom and opened in early 2020.
Speaking on behalf of the panel, Kingston University Vice-Chancellor Professor Steven Spier said: “Grafton Architects’ inspiring early vision for Middle Mill supports our commitment to developing our students’ future skills and increasing the University’s influence and impact at the highest levels nationally. We firmly believe world class architectural design underpins creative problem solving and educational achievement, providing a stimulating setting in which collaboration and shared learning thrive.”
Grafton Architects’ co-founders Shelley McNamara and Yvonne Farrell said the opportunity to develop designs for the Middle Mill site that would reflect its distinct natural landscape, wildlife, and riverside location had a special appeal.
McNamara added: “Our aim is to develop an optimistic model of how we inhabit the earth – how we can occupy land in responsible, imaginative, caring ways. While education is a serious business, we also want to capture the joy of discovery. We see the river as a thread binding the campus together, joining Knights Park to a new building.”