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Remodelled BFI cinema among winners of major architecture prize

BFI Southbank (Carmody Groarke/RIBA/PA)
BFI Southbank (Carmody Groarke/RIBA/PA)

The remodelled British Film Institute (BFI) cinema in London is among the winners of a major architecture prize.

BFI Riverfront, the restaurant and bar attached to the screening complex on London’s Southbank, is one of 29 winners of the 2022 Royal Institute of British Architects (Riba) National Awards.

The awards, which have been presented since 1966, recognise the UK’s best new buildings and provide an insight into design and economic trends, according to Riba.

BFI Riverfront (Luke Hayes/Riba/PA)

Burrowed beneath the arches of Waterloo Bridge, BFI Southbank was originally built in the 1950s to accommodate the UK’s largest independent cinema house and national film archive.

The entrance to the building was recently redesigned by architectural group Carmody Groarke after it became outdated.

Riba said the judges were impressed with how the architects had “created a project that genuinely enhances a complex heritage setting” by celebrating the Grade II listed Waterloo Bridge and the Grade II listed National Theatre.

They added that the project is “an exemplar of a modern intervention that subtly but genuinely enhances the appreciation, experience and understanding of a complex and layered heritage setting”.

Also among the winners was a viewing tower at an Anglo-Saxon royal burial site in Suffolk called Sutton Hoo.

Sutton Hoo (Gareth Gardner/Riba/PA)

The institute described the addition of the tower as an “extremely brave piece of commissioning by the National Trust”, which requested it due to visitors being unable to appreciate the historical landscape fully.

House at Lough Beg, a family home built on the shores of a lake in Northern Ireland, and a modernised traditional village pub in North Yorkshire named The Alice Hawthorn also made the list of winners.

Harris Academy Sutton secured a spot after becoming the UK’s first secondary school to achieve Passivhaus eco status.

Also on the winner’s list was 100 Liverpool Street, a net zero carbon office building sitting above the new Crossrail line in the City of London, which was described as a “truly impressive project” by the institute.

100 Liverpool Street (Charles Hosea/Riba/PA)

Riba said key trends from this year’s winners included uniting communities, developing housing for the future and restoring and adapting existing buildings.

Riba president Simon Allford said: “At a time when we need to bring people together and plan for a sustainable future, this year’s Riba National Award-winning buildings offer much hope.

“This is a powerful collection of buildings that show, despite the economic, political and social turmoil of the last few years, how great architecture can emerge even in challenging conditions.

“As we start to settle from the pandemic, I am particularly encouraged by the number and quality of new buildings designed to foster community.

“From local cultural hubs to reinvigorated accessible arts venues, these projects demonstrate the power of good architecture to lift spirits and enhance lives.”

He added that he was pleased to see “new and innovative solutions” to meet the demand for energy-efficient homes and said the winners have “set a new benchmark and vision for the future of UK housing”.

Mr Allford also said he was “encouraged to see restoration and sensitive adaptation feature so prominently” this year, with “buildings acknowledging their history, the needs of the present and the potential of a dynamic future”.

He added: “I congratulate every client, architect and construction team for their achievements.”