RIBA Regional Awards 2018 Shortlist – our top six nominees!

20th April 2018

Awards season is upon us yet again, and the Royal Institute of British Architecture (RIBA) has announced its regional award shortlists for 2018.

A staggering 225 buildings have been shortlisted across the UK, including a number of landmark Hardscape supplied projects which have really set the industry talking in recent months.

The regional awards will take place across various venues in May with all successful regional winners considered for the highly coveted RIBA National Award announced in July. The shortlist for the RIBA Stirling Prize, the best new building of the year, will then be drawn from the RIBA National Award winners.

Here we round up our favourite Hardscape shortlisted projects:

1: ANGEL COURT, LONDON – FLETCHER PRIEST ARCHITECTS

We’re loving Angels (Court) instead! As winner of the Architects Journal 2017 Award for ‘Tall Building of the Year’, Fletcher Priest has its eyes on more awards this year, and rightly so. The 25-storey ‘Sky Tower’ marks an arresting addition to London’s skyline – but it’s the detail closer to ground that really makes this building special.

The tower’s glass exterior is contrasted by a unique façade at the building’s base. This ambitious and technically detailed project sees Carlow blue limestone, sourced from Ireland, installed as cladding which runs up the six-storey ‘Garden Floors’ and along its terraces in a grid effect, forming the balustrades of gardens.

Mathew Haslam, Managing Director at Hardscape, comments: “Angel Court is a wonderful synthesis of aesthetics and engineering. The ambitious project represents the first use cladding of this kind, at this scale. In a competitive shortlist, we hope Angel Court can impress as it did at the AJ Awards.”

2: XYZ BUILDING, MANCHESTER – CARTWRIGHT PICKARD

As easy as ABC – or XYZ, in this case! Located in the prestigious Spinningfields, area of Manchester, the XYZ building defines a new approach to commercial workspace. The building has been modelled on US research on how to rethink future office space. It provides Grade A accommodation but offers complete flexibility in a stripped down and raw state with a view to attracting tenants from the tech, media and telecommunications sector.

The challenge for Hardscape was to design and detail a building and an architectural framework that was loose enough to enable multiple servicing options. Hardscape supplied natural stones Kobra and Crystal Black granite to cover walkways and to add to the edge of an already astonishing building. XYZ has also been shortlisted for a 2017 BCO award. Best of luck!

3: THE PIECE HALL, HALIFAX – LDN ARCHITECTS, GILLESPIES

We come in ‘Piece’! Also, in bad puns. But, what definitely is out of this world, is the Grade 1 listed Piece Hall, in Halifax. As part of a £19million conservation scheme, The spectacular Piece Hall has undergone a major transformation to revive the cultural, commercial and civic centre. Hardscape played an integral role in the regeneration project, working alongside Gillespies landscape architects to restore the central courtyard to its former glory. The project was supported by Calderdale Council and LDN architects.

Hardscape supplied 5,500 square metres of Forest Pennant sandstone paving and setts for the central courtyard as well as Portuguese granite setts, steps and benches. The Piece Hall’s new look was revealed at a grand opening ceremony in August 2017. Over 22,000 people walked through the gates for the event and the feedback was resoundingly positive. The award is for both The Piece Hall and the Calderdale Central Library and Archives.

4: WILLOW BARNS, STOKE ON TRENT – PRP

Over to the West Midlands and Willow Barns in Burton, Stoke on Trent.

The award winning Willow Barns comprises 75 two-bed extra care apartments and is the first of three extra care developments being delivered as part of the Stoke-on-Trent extra care PFI scheme. This is the second time Hardscape has been involved in a PFI scheme after supplying paving to Oak Priory in Holdcroft.

The architecture which takes particular reference from the retained agricultural buildings, creates three linear barn structures all linked by glazed bridges, each ‘barn’ has a southerly aspect and overlooks a series of high quality landscaped spaces.

Hardscape supplied around 2,000m2 of material in total – which includes Dutch clay, and Newgrange Autumn Cream concrete, giving a soft and welcoming feeling to the entrance of the care home. The project has already won the ‘Best Social or Affordable New Housing Development’ at the LABC Building Excellence Awards, West Midlands 2017 and also the ‘HAPPI Completed Award’ at the 2017 Housing Design Awards.

5: RIVERLIGHT, LONDON – ROGERS STIRK HARBOUR & PARTNERS

A residential space surrounded by a picturesque riverfront in Battersea has been transformed into a tranquil and welcoming area, as part of a £200million mixed-use scheme in the heart of London’s Southbank.

Put forward by Nine Elms Vauxhall Partnership, the Riverlight development was created to unleash the area’s potential for growth. The five-acre site, designed by architects Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners is 60% public open space and includes 112 trees of seven different species.

Hardscape’s role, working with Landscape Architects Gillespies, was to use modern landscaping techniques and materials to complement the playful sculptures and trails while encouraging visitors to interact with the landscape. Kellen Breccia concrete was used to pave the area – chosen due to its decorative nature and durability.

Silver Grey granite was used for kerbs, bollards and steps, providing a neutral base with elements that catch the light and sparkle silver in the sun – giving a prestigious aesthetic. There were also granite boulders for seating, as well as Carlow Blue Limestone cladding and coping on water features. The completed development has provided 802 new homes, 250 jobs, 45 apprenticeships and improved local services and transport infrastructure.

6: 101 THE EMBANKMENT, GREENGATE, SALFORD – FLANAGAN LAWRENCE

Last but not least, it’s Flanagan Lawrence’s stunning Salford workspace – 101 The Embankment, Greengate. It is located in a unique urban context, sitting at the historic centre of Salford and overlooking Manchester Cathedral and Deansgate. It is an important piece in the regeneration jigsaw at the junction of Salford and Manchester, facilitating the extension of Manchester’s business and retail district across the River Irwell into the long neglected Greengate area of Salford.

The building is the first of a two-phased development arranged on a series of levels. A Grade 2 listed sandstone viaduct forms a grand base for the office building, which sits at plinth level, nine metres above a significant new area of public realm. In contrast to the viaduct, the modern steel and glass office building appears as a lightweight, highly polished jewel, sitting above the robust sandstone façade of the railway embankment.

The building comprises 15,329m2 (NIA) of space over ten floors. Hardscape proudly contributed to the landscape via a redder, more buff and violet-coloured palette with Prima Porphyry and Violet Pearl granite supplied, as well as Egerton Red Sandstone steps and walling to complement the lower Grade 2 listed viaduct and grand base of the building. Best of luck to Flanagan Lawrence!