Tottenham’s 63,000-seat stadium wins prestigious architecture prize

Other winners included a floating church in London and a house perched on a steel water tower in Norfolk.

Tottenham Hotspur Stadium
Tottenham Hotspur Stadium

Tottenham’s 63,000-seat stadium has won a major architecture prize.

The Premier League football club’s new home in north London is one of 54 winners of the 2021 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.

Tottenham Hotspur Stadium
The Tottenham Hotspur Stadium has won a major architecture award (Mike Egerton/PA)

The Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, which hosted its first Premier League game in April 2019, was praised by judges as a “tour de force in stadium design” and was lauded for “delivering an unparalleled experience for the multiple users of this collection of buildings”.

Judges added: “Uniquely, it is located on a high street, helping to embed it in the local community.”

Also among the winners was a church floating on an East London barge.

Judges said: “A barge rather than a building, this mobile community facility occupies and makes use of the city’s underused canal infrastructure.

Caudale Housing Scheme
The Caudale Housing Scheme in Camden was praised by RIBA judges for the precedent it set in local housing (Tim Crocker/RIBA/PA)

“The concertina roof structure is kinetic, allowing it to lie flat so that the barge can pass under bridges when moving between destinations.”

A house perched on a steel water tower in Norfolk was described as “extraordinary” after a derelict structure was brought back into use.

Judges said: “The Water Tower is an example of how an unloved redundant structure can be given a new sustainable life through intelligent design, carefully and diligently applied by a committed and driven client.

“The effort to preserve and retain as much of the original structure as possible and the rigour of the execution is exemplary. It shows how good retrofitting design can combine low embodied energy and architectural delight.”

A council housing development for people displaced by HS2 in Camden was also a winner, with judges praising the Caudale Housing Scheme for setting a “desirable precedent for new housing locally”.

Kingston University London
Kingston University Town House was another building recognised by RIBA (Dennis Gilbert/RIBA/PA)

Maggie’s Cardiff, a cancer care centre in Wales, was another project recognised.

RIBA said key trends from this year’s winners included the “sensitive restoration and adaptation of existing buildings,” citing a 45-year-old furniture factory in Bath and Winchester Cathedral.

Investment in arts and culture was another stand-out theme from this year, organisers of the awards said, with Aberdeen Art Gallery and the Lake District’s Windemere Jetty Museum recognised.

And state-of-the-art higher education facilities and schools were another feature, according to RIBA, with Kingston University Town House and the Clore Music Studios at New College Oxford University recognised.

RIBA president Simon Allford said: “Ranging from radical, cutting-edge new designs to clever, creative restorations that breathe new life into historic buildings, these projects illustrate the enduring importance and impact of British architecture.”

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