Astley Castle in Warwickshire by Witherford Watson Mann Architects wins the RIBA Stirling Prize 2013 for the best new building of the year.
The groundbreaking modern holiday home that was inserted into the crumbling walls of an ancient moated castle, in Warwickshire by Witherford Watson Mann Architects has won the coveted RIBA Stirling Prize 2013 for the best building of the year. Now in its 18th year, the RIBA Stirling Prize is the UK’s most prestigious architecture prize.
Astley Castle is a 12th century fortified manor which had been lying in ruins since a fire gutted it in 1978. When the architects came to work on the building it was in a state of collapse and on the Heritage at Risk Register. What has been built is no straightforward restoration, the building had seen additions and revisions carried out in almost every century since Medieval times, so knowing which period to emulate would have been impossible. The architects solution was to stabilise the ruin and create the next layer of the building’s history. The result is a highly complex and original new house giving the castle’s visitors a truly unique experience.
RIBA President Stephen Hodder, “Astley Castle is an exceptional example of how modern architecture can revive an ancient monument. It is significant because rather than a conventional restoration project, the architects have designed an incredibly powerful contemporary house which is expertly and intricately intertwined with 800 years of history. Every detail has been carefully considered, from a specific brick pattern to the exact angle of a view, resulting in a sensually rich experience for all who visit. This beautiful new building is a real labour of love. It was realised in true collaboration between a visionary client, designer and contractors. I am delighted to present Witherford Watson Mann with the 2013 RIBA Stirling Prize.”
This is the first time Witherford Watson Mann has won or been shortlisted for the RIBA Stirling Prize. Their previous buildings include the Amnesty International UK headquarters, the Whitechapel Art Gallery extension in London with Robbrecht en Daem, and Arts Council Manchester.
Astley Castle was chosen by the judges from the following outstanding shortlisted entries:
Bishop King Edward Chapel, Cuddesdon, Oxfordshire by Niall McLaughlin Architects
Giant’s Causeway Visitor Centre, Northern Ireland by heneghan peng architects
Newhall Be, Harlow by Alison Brooks Architects
Park Hill Phase 1, Sheffield by Hawkins\Brown with Studio Egret West
University of Limerick Medical School by Grafton Architects
For more information on all of 2013's entries, visit the RIBA website - architecture.com