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Cambridge Central Mosque and Key Worker Housing at Eddington in the running for RIBA Stirling Prize



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Two Cambridge buildings have been shortlisted for the RIBA Stirling Prize, the UK’s most prestigious architecture award.

Cambridge Central Mosque, by Marks Barfield Architects, London
Cambridge Central Mosque, by Marks Barfield Architects, London

Cambridge Central Mosque and Key Worker Housing at Eddington are in the running, along with 15 Clerkenwell Close in London, Kingston University London’s Town House, Tintagel Castle Footbridge and Windermere Jetty.

The winner, following voting by an expert jury, will be announced on Thursday, October 14, at Coventry Cathedral, as part of the UK City of Culture 2021 celebrations.

The award is given to the architect of the building thought to be the most significant of the year for the evolution of architecture and the built environment.

Regional winners of the RIBA (Royal Institute of British Architects) Awards were announced in August, as reported.

This month, three of those from the East - Cambridge Central Mosque by Marks Barfield Architects in London, Key Worker Housing at Eddington by Stanton Williams in London and the Imperial War Museum’s Paper Store by Architype - were announced as national winners too.

Cambridge Central Mosque, which also earned the RIBA East Building of the Year title for 2021, can house 1,000 worshippers and features stunning structural ‘trees’ at its centre.

Cambridge Central Mosque, by Marks Barfield Architects, London
Cambridge Central Mosque, by Marks Barfield Architects, London

It is also Europe’s first ‘eco-mosque’, using green technologies, including rainwater harvesting, air source heat pumps and photovoltaics to minimise its carbon footprint.

RIBA said: “The urban intervention of inserting a mosque capable of welcoming 1,000 worshipers within a low rise, residential neighbourhood, without dominating it, is masterful. Its presence is clear but modest, considering the size of the mosque relative to the two storey terrace houses around it. This is achieved by setting it back from the street, progressing through the Islamic garden, then gradually increasing in scale to the front portico, atrium with cafe to one side and study centre to the other, through to central ablution areas. The building then rises at the rear to the largest mass of the prayer hall, which shifts in geometry to face Mecca.”

The 10-building Key Worker Housing scheme at Eddington, also nominated for the 2021 Neave Brown Award for Housing, was developed by Stanton Williams for the University of Cambridge's North-West Cambridge development.

Key Worker Housing, Eddington, by Stanton Williams, London. Picture: Jack Hobhouse
Key Worker Housing, Eddington, by Stanton Williams, London. Picture: Jack Hobhouse

RIBA said: “This urban approach of ‘loose’ interconnected courtyards is very successful and creates a delightful series of spaces. The walk from Market Square through four interwoven courts to reach Landscape Court is a pleasure, and easily accessible by all. The landscaping, both hard and soft, is particularly successful in integrating the buildings within a holistic and rigorous external environment.

“The scheme manages to feel as though it is part Cambridge college and part new piece of city.”

Key Worker Housing, Eddington, by Stanton Williams, London. Picture: Jack Hobhouse
Key Worker Housing, Eddington, by Stanton Williams, London. Picture: Jack Hobhouse

It too has excellent environmental credentials, with CHP (combined heat and power), rainwater harvesting and sustainable drainage.

Jo Bacon, RIBA chair of award group Jo Bacon, said: “It has been a pleasure for the RIBA Awards Group to consider and visit over 200 buildings designed by our members this summer. A special thanks to all of the clients who have welcomed us into their projects, and of course all the jury members who have so generously volunteered their time and expertise.

“In total 145 projects won Regional Awards and 54 projects won National Awards.

Key Worker Housing, Eddington, by Stanton Williams, London. Picture: Jack Hobhouse
Key Worker Housing, Eddington, by Stanton Williams, London. Picture: Jack Hobhouse

“This year the Stirling Prize shortlist represents the value and diversity of architectural invention. Our members are exploring structural and environmental challenges to deliver civic places of value to our society. Each one of these projects has delivered best in class environmental standards while creating extraordinary architectural solutions appropriate to their context.

“Our jury members recognised that these projects had a vision that was reflected in all aspects of the design. They demonstrate architectural and conceptual ambition while offering delight to both the owners and their visitors.”

Read more

Winners of RIBA East Awards 2021 revealed, including Cambridge Central Mosque, Royal Papworth Hospital and Imperial War Museum

Iconic Cambridge mosque wins top award

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