Winners of the RIBA London Awards revealed...


  • Date: 07/05/2014
  • Source: Photo: Agnese Sanvito
Winners of the RIBA London Awards revealed...

O’Donnell + Tuomey’s Saw Swee Hock Student Centre, London School of Economics, won the BLP sponsored London Building of the Year Award at the ceremony on 6th May.

This top Award was presented by BLP's Richard Saxon CBE at The RIBA, 66 Portland Place.

In all, 33 projects in the capital won RIBA London Regional Awards out of a shortlist of 64, with winners including The Shard, Brent Civic Centre and the London Aquatics Centre.

Other high profile projects included the Tate Britain, King's Cross Station and Blackfriars station.

By entering and winning a RIBA award, the Saw Swee Hock Student Centre and other winning projects become eligible for competing for the prestigious RIBA Stirling Prize.

Visit the Architects Journal website for information on the awards and the full list of winners.

Extract of Richard Saxon's speech:

"BLP Insurance is delighted to be sponsoring the RIBA London Building of the year Award for the fourth year in succession. This award recognises the most outstanding new building in a city of outstanding new buildings. The shortlist shows that even in a dire recession, London can call forth world class architecture in abundance.

"But before announcing the winner, a word about BLP of which I am now a director. BLP, originally called Building LifePlans, is a specialist insurer which believes that clients, owners, occupiers and architects need better protection against defects than is provided by conventional approaches. BLP asked me to become a director in order to work with them on what the industry needs for the future.

"We cover both housing and commercial buildings against defects without tying you to a technical manual and without risk to your PII: clients get compensation without needing to find you negligent. BLP assesses every design on its merits and offers technical consultancy and analytical tools for life-cycle design, to calculate life cycle cost and the environmental impact of the design and its components for both new build and refurbished residential buildings. This approach also has the potential to fit into future non-recourse project insurance that supports advanced BIM use.

"As a direct result of this expertise BLP Insurance has also been involved with the Build to Rent best practice guide recently released by the Private Rented Sector Task Force. This guide specifically refers to BIM as a way to include cost, performance and maintenance data for every aspect of the project, including all suppliers and manufacturers details to streamline facilities management. Embodied carbon can also be tracked to enhance developers’ ability to achieve sustainability and CSR goals. The BLP Butterfly tool is also being used in the new Housing Forum labelling campaign, Mind the Gap, to enable home seekers to see the real performance of their prospective abodes and choose the best.

"So which is this year’s best new building in London? The final four, all good enough in my opinion for the Stirling Prize shortlist, were judged by the London Panels to be:

  • The London Bridge Tower (the Shard), by Renzo Piano Building Workshop, an un-missable event on the city skyline;
  • The Saw Swee Hock Student Centre for LSE, by O’Donnell + Tuomey, a crafted wonder tucked away near the Aldwych;
  • The Olympic Aquatic Centre, by Zaha Hadid Architects, judged in its final, stunning form;
  • The ORTUS Centre for Maudsley Learning, by Duggan Morris Architects, already recognised by the American Institute of Architects.

"The winner has no vertical walls, but then only one of the finalists does. Sir Jeremy Dixon, on behalf of the judges, says in his citation that: “This remarkable building is an object lesson in mobilising the limitations of a site into a surprising and original building. The architects started by taking the geometry of light angles as the definition of a solid into which they then gouged cuts and cracks that give light and form”. He finishes by saying “To build a building like this required a high degree of craftsmanship and care, and one feels that this was achieved through the sheer willpower of the architects. It has a complex and unusual plan form that (nevertheless) accommodates functions with effortless ease. Not surprisingly, the client, (London School of Economics) is delighted with their new student social facility”.

"The 2014 RIBA London Building of the Year is the Saw Swee Hock student centre by O’Donnell + Tuomey."


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