RIBA North West last night (Thursday 16 April) announced that eight projects were winners of 2015 RIBA Regional Awards, in recognition of their architectural excellence. 

The new Whitworth combines verve and subtlety.

Having shortlisted 15 buildings, the judging panel visited all shortlisted projects over a week in March and reached a decision to award 8 RIBA Regional Awards at a prestigious ceremony hosted by BBC 5Live’s OJ Borg at Halle St Peters in Manchester, attended by members of the profession from across the North West. 

The Whitworth, Manchester by MUMA, took home the coveted North West Building of the Year Award, won last year by the Everyman Theatre in Liverpool.

Confidential applauds this. As re-imagined by MUMA with twice as much display space the new Whitworth combines verve and subtlety. It is a splendid place to walk around and enjoy art, one that talks to the surrounding environment in Whitworth Park. At a stroke Manchester has gained a gallery that can chase not only a much inflated national profile but also an international profile. Within three months the visitor figures for the previous full year opening period of 180,000 will be eclipsed.

For Phil Griffin's review of the gallery on Manchester Confidential click here.

The full list of winners:

1) House in Formby, Merseyside by shedkm

2) Lancaster University Engineering Building, Lancaster by John McAslan + Partners

3) Maggie’s Merseyside at Clatterbridge, Merseyside by Carmody Groarke

4) Manchester Metropolitan University Student Union, Manchester by Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios

5) Mann Island, Liverpool by Broadway Malyan

6) St John Bosco Arts College, Liverpool by BDP

7) The Whitworth, Manchester by MUMA

8) Westmorland, Liverpool by Snook Architects 

In addition to the eight RIBA Regional Awards announced on the evening, projects were eligible to win one or more sponsored RIBA Regional Special Awards. The winners are: 

Building of the Year Award sponsored by Ibstock – The Whitworth

Client of the Year Award – Liverpool City Council/Anne Pontifex (for St John Bosco Arts College)

Small Project of the Year Award – Maggie’s Merseyside at Clatterbridge

Project Architect of the Year Award sponsored by Lafarge Tarmac – Paul Hughes, John McAslan + Partners (for Lancaster University Engineering Building)

Emerging Architect of the Year Award sponsored by Search Recruitment – Neil Dawson, Snook Architects (for Westmorland)

Conservation Award – The Whitworth

Sustainability Award sponsored by Sika – Lancaster University Engineering Building 

NW jury chair, Dave King, commented: “The 2015 North West Awards showcases a diverse range of buildings; from small to large, temporary to permanent, education to corporate, and large-scale housing to private residences of exceptional quality. However, perhaps the most widely accessible building represents the region’s arts and cultural sector. 

"The judges moved from a small-scale Maggie’s Centre contrived partly from ‘found’ elements, to a massive addition to Liverpool’s iconic Pier Head. Two suburban houses – both designed in-part to house artworks – contrast dramatically with an elegant and inclusive gallery extension overlooking a city-centre park. A lively and colourful school is complemented by a Student’s Union and an Engineering Faculty, each having their own particular set of qualities.

This year, Awards have gone to a variety of architectural ‘names’, some of which may surprise, others who have been here before. All architects and clients must be congratulated for submitting such a rich and diverse mix.” 

RIBA North West Award winners will also be considered for a highly-coveted RIBA National Award, which will be announced on Thursday 18 June. 

The shortlist for the RIBA Stirling Prize for the best building of the year, won last year by Liverpool’s Everyman Theatre, will be drawn from the RIBA National Award-winning buildings later in the year.

The external pictures of the Whitworth on these pages are by Alan Williams. Pictures of the other RIBA entries can be seen here.

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