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vHH’s Houlton School shortlisted for RIBA’s new reuse awards



The practice’s ‘sensitive reimagination’ of the Grade II-listed Rugby Radio Station transmitter building was named Design of the Year at the last year’s AJ Architecture Awards. It is one of four buildings in the running for the institute’s inaugural Reinvention Award.

Also shortlisted are 6a architects x Caragh Thuring’s refurbishment and extension of a community gym in Holborn House, London; Wright & Wright Architects’ overhaul of the Museum of the Home in Hackney; and the conversion of Wolverhampton’s dilapidated Mitchells & Butlers Brewery into a new school of architecture by Associated Architects with Rodney Melville and Partners.

The RIBA’s ‘brand-new annual accolade’ aims to celebrate the creative reuses of buildings that improve their environmental, social, or economic sustainability, and to ‘shine a light’ on projects that reduce the need for demolition and new construction.

The shortlisted schemes were selected from the 138 winners of the 2023 RIBA regional awards by a panel that included RIBA president Simon Allford, Studio PDP partner Marion Baeli, and former BBC energy and environment analyst Roger Harrabin.

To be eligible, projects had to reuse an existing building or structure, supplied data on carbon and operational energy where applicable and demonstrated how the scheme had improved the building or structure by achieving one or more of the sustainable outcomes in RIBA’s Sustainable Outcomes Guide.

Allford said: ‘Looking ahead to the low-carbon future, it is vital we always consider how we can reinvent existing buildings to work even better when they accommodate new uses.

‘The careful husbandry of existing resources – including buildings – has a long and noble, if recently forgotten, architectural history that we are relearning – and fast.’

‘Breathing new life into beloved old buildings, can reap huge rewards’

He added: ‘Historic buildings and iconic landmarks form the fabric of our collective memories. This award demonstrates that breathing new life into beloved old buildings, can reap huge rewards – for their users and our planet.

‘I hope that this inaugural award will act as a catalyst, inspiring others to take up the retrofit challenge and that we will see many more exciting and ambitious examples in the future.’

The winner of the award will be announced at the RIBA Stirling Prize ceremony on Thursday 19 October 2023 at Victoria Warehouse in Manchester.

Source:James Brittain

RIBA 2023 Reinvention Award finalist: Houlton School in Warwickshire by van Heyningen & Haward Architects

Shortlist in full

  • Great Things Lie Ahead, 2020, Holborn House by 6a architects x Caragh Thuring
  • Houlton School in Warwickshire by van Heyningen and Haward Architects
  • Museum of the Home in Hackney by Wright & Wright Architects
  • University of Wolverhampton School of Architecture and the Built Environment by Associated Architects with Rodney Melville and Partners

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