The winner of the coveted 2016 RIBA Stirling Prize for the UK’s best new building uses ArchiCAD design software. Caruso St John Architects, based in London and Zurich, have converted almost an entire street of listed buildings in South London into Newport Street Gallery – a free public gallery showing artist Damien Hirst’s private art collection.
The RIBA Stirling Prize is the UK’s most prestigious architecture prize and Caruso St John is most deserving of the accolade. The complete transformation of three Victorian buildings, previously used as scenery-building workshops for West End theatres, showcases well the capabilities of model based design.
Speaking at the awards ceremony on 6th October at Portland Place, RIBA President, Jane Duncan, said, “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.”
Newport Street Gallery is a series of interlinked gallery spaces on two levels, and its charm is all in the detail. Each of its saw-tooth roof-lights, a common feature of industrial buildings, has been subtly set at a different angle. The simple white interiors are broken with oval, spiral staircases, the handrails of which are recessed in concrete.
Externally, the building boasts a pleasing blend of old and new brickwork, and the metal balustrade of the balcony has been water-jet cut from a single sheet of steel. In fact, the Newport Street Gallery is the perfect example of the extreme level of precision the team at Caruso St John bring to their design work.
In her speech, Jane Duncan praised “the beautifully crafted staircases and superb details including tactile brick facades that blend the street externally”. She also said that Damien Hirst had commissioned “a real work of art” to house his private art collection.
Caruso St John was established in 1990 and is noted for its work on museums and art galleries. The firm, led by Adam Caruso and Peter St John, were shortlisted for the Stirling Prize back in 2000 for their New Art Gallery Walsall. Since then, they have designed the Nottingham Contemporary, worked on the Tate Britain revamp, renovated the Liverpool Harmonic Hall and designed a new commercial art venue in Mayfair, London, for the Gagosian Gallery. The company were also shortlisted for their Brick House in West London in 2006. This impressive number of successful museum and gallery projects makes Caruso St John arguably Britain’s leading architect in the cultural sector.
With their design of Newport Street Gallery, Caruso St John saw off competition for the RIBA Stirling Prize from a housing scheme by dRMM, the Blavatnik School of Government in Oxford by Herzog & de Meuron, Wilkinson Eyre’s Weston Library, City of Glasgow College by Reiach & Hall and Michael Laird Architects and Outhouse by Loyn & Co.
The renovation of the row of Victorian industrial buildings, which was acquired by Damien Hirst in 2002, was pronounced by the judges to be
“a bold and confident contribution to UK architecture”. They described Caruso St John’s approach to conservation as “irreverent yet sensitive, achieving a clever solution that expresses a poetic juxtaposition of old and new”.
Applecore Designs would like to congratulate Caruso St John on their success.
Applecore Designs specialises in the implementation of ArchiCAD model-based design for the architecture and building industry. For more information, contact us here or on 0121 447 7747.