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Benedetti Architects selected to lead RIBA HQ refurbishment

We've announced Benedetti Architects as Lead Architect for the refurbishment and modernisation of 66 Portland Place.

26 May 2022

The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) has announced Benedetti Architects as the Lead Architect for the refurbishment and modernisation of 66 Portland Place, London.

Benedetti Architects will lead a design team tasked with transforming the RIBA’s Grade II* listed HQ into a dynamic, accessible and sustainable building. This project forms part of the RIBA’s House of Architecture initiative to inspire members, professionals, students and the public through physical and virtual debate, discussion, learning and exhibitions.

Benedetti Architects will now work with the RIBA to complete the full feasibility study, which will include the appointment of several smaller practices.

Director of Benedetti Architects Renato Benedetti said:

“It’s a tremendous honour to be chosen for this once-in-a-lifetime project. We adore 66 Portland Place and agree it needs comprehensive improvements to be fit for purpose to secure its sustainable future culturally and environmentally, as an exemplar for architects, and for the communication of architecture’s significance to the broadest possible audience.

As a wide-eyed Canadian student who first visited in 1983, the RIBA felt like the architectural epicentre of the world to me. It would be great to rekindle that sense of excitement and relevance for future generations of architects and lovers of architecture.”

RIBA President Simon Allford said:

“We were very impressed with the quality and consideration evidenced in every shortlisted proposal, but ultimately Benedetti Architects’ vision for our project secured their win. They also enthusiastically embraced our idea to work collaboratively with other practices in later stages.

The transformation of 66 Portland Place is an incredible opportunity for the RIBA and Benedetti Architects to build a detailed brief, a team and a project that is vital to the future of the RIBA.

This project will be a key physical manifestation of our House of Architecture programme – enabling us to encourage collaboration and inspire architects and architecture. Crucially we will be delivering many activities globally and virtually too, with our own HQ building providing a strong foundation and destination.

The Lead Architect is also tasked with the practical challenge of bringing a listed building up to scratch, from an accessibility and sustainability perspective. This is urgent and essential work to make 66 Portland Place fit for the future.

Congratulations to Benedetti Architects – I look forward to working closely together on the next stage.”

RIBA Board Member and Honorary Treasurer Simone de Gale said:

"We were highly impressed and enthused with proposals presented by Renato and his team at Benedetti Architects. They were thoughtful, full of energy and delivered on each aspect of the brief. Their appointment aligns with our vision for the RIBA in creating a House of Architecture for all."

Benedetti Architects has worked on the refurbishment of a number of Grade II listed buildings including the award-winning BAFTA Headquarters, Oliver’s Wharf Penthouse, and Portsmouth Guildhall.

It was selected from a shortlist of seven proposals in the second competitive interview phase, based on quality and approach, sustainability strategy, team, methodology and EDI.

Design and funding options will be considered by the RIBA Board for decision in due course. The current construction start date is early 2024.

The judging panel comprised: Simon Allford, RIBA President; Simone de Gale, RIBA Board Member and Honorary Treasurer; Liam McConnell, RIBA Director of Estates & Facilities; Murray Orr, RIBA Board Member (Business & Enterprise); Jack Pringle, RIBA Board Chair; Neal Shasore, Chief Executive/Head of School at The London School of Architecture; MaryAnne Stevens, RIBA Board Member (Heritage); Alan Vallance, RIBA Chief Executive and Sarah Williams, RIBA Client Adviser.

ENDS

Notes to editors:

  1. Media contact: Emily.Stallard@riba.org
  2. The seven shortlisted practices were: Benedetti Architects, David Kohn Architects, Donald Insall Associates, Freehaus and IDK, Feix&Merlin with Haptic Architects & Heritage Architecture, Hall McKnight, Hugh Broughton Architects and Roz Barr Architects.
  3. Benedetti Architects: Renato Benedetti is founder / design director of Benedetti Architects, formed in 2016 to continue the 20 years award-winning success of McDowell+Benedetti Architects founded in 1996. The chartered practice continues to further its established international reputation for design excellence in an unusually diverse range of projects across different types and scales including: Public & Cultural, Historic buildings, Housing, Houses & Apartments, Offices, Bridges, Public Realm & Masterplanning, Retail and Education & Health. They have won many national / international awards and competitions and their work is published widely in the UK and abroad in articles, books, on radio and TV. Benedetti Architects recently completed the award-winning expansion & redesign of BAFTA’s headquarters at 195 Piccadilly (the listed 1883 former Royal Institute of Painters in Water Colours). They are currently working on improving the listed Portsmouth Guildhall and were recently shortlisted with Adjaye Associates for the Barbican Renewal project, and for the London Highline.
  4. Renato Benedetti: Born and educated in Canada, Renato worked with his father as a stonemason & bricklayer before studying architecture at the University of Waterloo, Ontario, Canada. His thesis was published by Shimizu Japan and he did his professional course in the UK at the University of Cambridge. While at university, he worked for practices in Canada, Italy and in London. After university he worked seven years as an Associate for David Chipperfield Architects, before founding the firm. His wide public profile includes current roles on Design Review Panels for the London Boroughs of Southwark, Wandsworth & Richmond, Lewisham and until recently for the Design Council as a Built Environment Expert. He is a long-standing Architecture Club Committee member and was a London Festival of Architecture founding committee member. He is an RSA Fellow and was a trustee of the Hatton Garden BID. He lectures & teaches in the UK and abroad and is a visiting professor at Roma Tre University.
  5. The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) is a global professional membership body that serves its members and society in order to deliver better buildings and places, stronger communities and a sustainable environment. Follow @RIBA on Twitter for regular updates.

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