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RIBA Stirling Prize 2016 winner

Newport Street Gallery by Caruso St John Architects has won the coveted 2016 RIBA Stirling Prize for the UK’s best new building.

06 October 2016

Newport Street Gallery, the conversion of almost an entire street of listed industrial buildings in south London into a free public gallery for artist Damien Hirst’s private art collection by Caruso St John Architects, has won the coveted 2016 RIBA Stirling Prize for the UK’s best new building. Now in its 21st year, the RIBA Stirling Prize sponsored by Almacantar, is the UK’s most prestigious architecture prize.

The presentation of the RIBA Stirling Prize trophy to Caruso St John architects took place at a special ceremony this evening (Thursday 6 October) at the Royal Institute of British Architects in central London.

Newport Street Gallery involved the conversion and transformation of a street facing a railway line in Vauxhall, south London. Three listed Victorian industrial buildings, formerly carpentry and scenery painting workshops for West End theatres, have been remodelled and flanked at either end by entirely new buildings; one with a striking, spiky saw-tooth roof. The new additions have a specially-created hard pale red brick finish to closely reference the original buildings; while a huge LED panel on the railway façade encourages passing train commuters to visit. The ground and upper floors within the interconnected five buildings are continuous, with new spiral staircases on their side, to create flexible spaces able to accommodate everything from individual works to larger shows.

Comments from the judges:

“This highly accomplished and expertly detailed art gallery is a bold and confident contribution to the best of UK architecture. Caruso St John’s approach to conservation is irreverent yet sensitive and achieves a clever solution that expresses a poetic juxtaposition of old and new.

“The collection of buildings is beautifully curated, pulled together by the use of brick yet still expressive of their individuality. The playful use of LED technology gives a contemporary addition to the façade.

“Internally, the five buildings are connected as a continuous and coherent sequence of light filled gallery spaces. The simple and logical circulation is enlivened by exquisitely detailed and sensuous staircases.

“The gallery, which is free of charge, is a generous asset to an evolving community.”

This is the first time Caruso St John architects have won the RIBA Stirling Prize; they were shortlisted for the award for Brick House, west London in 2006 and New Art Gallery Walsall in 2000.

Speaking tonight, RIBA President Jane Duncan said:

“With Newport Street Gallery, Damien Hirst has made an exceptional contribution to the UK’s strong history of private patronage of architecture. Not only has Damien opened up his enviable private art collection to the world, but he has commissioned a real work of art to house it in.

“Caruso St John have created a stunningly versatile space from a number of linked buildings, with beautifully crafted staircases and superb details including tactile brick facades that blend the street externally and create a succession of wonderful gallery spaces.

“This project exemplifies the best of UK architecture – a highly considered and creative project that brings to life a previously-unloved pocket of the city. I am delighted to present architects Caruso St John with the 2016 RIBA Stirling Prize.”

Peter St John, Partner, Caruso St John Architects said:

“It's rare for architects to be given the opportunity to realise a personal vision of the quality of the Newport Street Gallery, and for that vision to have a generous public dimension. We see the building as a palace for direct, intimate and luxurious encounters with contemporary art, and we are very pleased that this award will bring more people to see this extraordinary collection.”

Damien Hirst said:

"Newport Street Gallery has realized my ambition to create an unobtrusive and beautiful series of buildings that work perfectly as a space to exhibit great art. I wanted to stay true to the history and roots of the building and Caruso St John understood that from the start. I am immensely proud of what we achieved and the reaction it has received in its first year of opening and hope people will continue to enjoy it.”

Newport Street Gallery was chosen by the judges today from the following outstanding shortlisted entries:

  • Blavatnik School of Government, University of Oxford by Herzog & de Meuron
  • City of Glasgow College, Riverside Campus by Michael Laird Architects & Reiach and Hall Architects
  • Outhouse, Gloucestershire by Loyn & Co Architects
  • Trafalgar Place, Elephant and Castle, London by dRMM Architects
  • Weston Library, University of Oxford by WilkinsonEyre

The judges for the 2016 RIBA Stirling Prize were: Patrik Schumacher (Chair), Partner/Director at Zaha Hadid Architects; Paul Monaghan, Director of AHMM, winners of the 2015 RIBA Stirling Prize; Roisin Heneghan, co-founder and director of the Irish-German practice Heneghan Peng; Mike Hussey, founder of property investment and development group Almacantar; and Rachel Whiteread CBE, artist.

The winners of two other annual RIBA awards were also announced this evening:

  • House of Trace by Tsuruta Architects won the 2016 Stephen Lawrence Prize. The prize, set up in memory of Stephen Lawrence who was setting out on the road to becoming an architect before his tragic and untimely death in 1993, and supported by the Marco Goldschmied Foundation, is intended to encourage fresh architecture talent and reward the best examples of projects that have a construction budget of less than £1 million.
  • Westmorland Limited won the 2016 RIBA Client of the Year, supported by The Bloxham Charitable Trust. The award recognizes the role good clients play in the delivery of fine architecture.


Notes to editors:

  1. For further information contact Howard Crosskey +44 (0)20 7307 3761
  2. The RIBA Stirling Prize is the UK’s most prestigious architecture award. Given to the architect of the building thought to be the most significant of the year for the evolution of architecture and the built environment, the RIBA Stirling Prize is judged on a range of criteria including design vision, innovation and originality, capacity to stimulate engage and delight occupants and visitors, accessibility and sustainability, how fit the building is for its purpose and the level of client satisfaction.
  3. 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 us on Twitter for regular RIBA updates
  4. Previous winners of the RIBA Stirling Prize include: (2015) Burntwood School, Wandsworth, London by Allford Hall Monaghan Morris (AHMM), (2014) Liverpool Everyman Theatre by Haworth Tompkins (2013); Astley Castle by Witherford Watson Mann (2012); Sainsbury Laboratory by Stanton Williams (2011); Evelyn Grace Academy (2010) and MAXXI Museum, Rome (2009) both by Zaha Hadid Architects; Maggie’s Centre at Charing Cross Hospital, London by Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners (2008); Accordia housing development by Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios/Alison Brooks Architects/Maccreanor Lavington (2007); The Museum of Modern Literature, Marbach am Neckar, Germany by David Chipperfield Architects (2006).
  5. BBC News Online is partnering with the RIBA in coverage of the 2016 RIBA Stirling Prize
  6. The Architects’ Journal is professional media partner for the 2016 RIBA Stirling Prize and the special awards
  7. Corporate support for the RIBA is vital. Please help us by acknowledging our prize sponsor:
    The RIBA Stirling Prize is sponsored by Almacantar, a property investment and development company, specialising in large-scale, complex investments in Central London, with the potential to create long-term value through development, repositioning or active asset management. Since launching in 2010, Almacantar has acquired a number of prime assets with untapped potential in the heart of London, including: Centre Point, Marble Arch Tower, CAA House, 125 Shaftesbury Avenue and One and Two South Bank Place.
  8. The RIBA Stirling Prize party is supported by Champagne Taittinger
  9. Arper is the RIBA Stirling Prize furniture supporter
  10. Steensen Varming is the RIBA Stirling Prize lighting design supporter

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