The Architecture of Reinvention

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The Architecture of Reinvention

Four exceptional ‘new’ buildings have been shortlisted for the first Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) Reinvention Award 2023.

This brand-new annual accolade recognises achievement in the creative reuse of buildings to improve their environmental, social, or economic sustainability.

The RIBA Reinvention Award shines a light on “retrofitting”, increasing the longevity and energy efficiency of existing buildings, and reducing the need for demolition and new construction.

In central London, the refurbishment and extension of a community gym (Great Things Lie Ahead) provides a more visible and accessible community building that facilitates a wider range of cultural, social, and sporting activities.

In Warwickshire, the Houlton School scheme sensitively reimagines the iconic Grade II-listed Rugby Radio Station transmitter building and provides three new state-of-the-art school blocks arranged around a central courtyard.

In East London, the renovation and extension of the Museum of the Home is informed by the rich history of its Grade I-listed alms house buildings and public gardens, increasing the museum’s public reach and creating one of the largest green spaces in the area.

Wolverhampton’s old Mitchells & Butlers Brewery is given new life as a dynamic education facility with exemplary design reflecting the site’s rich industrial heritage (University of Wolverhampton School of Architecture and the Built Environment).

Eligible projects reused an existing building or structure, supplied carbon and operational energy where applicable, and demonstrated how the project had improved the building or structure by achieving one or more of the sustainable outcomes in RIBA’s Sustainable Outcomes Guide.

The inaugural winner of the 2023 Reinvention Award will be announced at the RIBA Stirling Prize ceremony for the UK’s best new building on Thursday 19 October 2023 at Victoria Warehouse in Manchester.

RIBA President Simon Allford said: “Looking ahead to the low carbon future, it is vital we always consider how we can reinvent existing buildings to work even better when they accommodate new uses.

“The careful husbandry of existing resources – including buildings – has a long and noble, if recently forgotten, architectural history that we are relearning – and fast.

“These remarkable projects all demonstrate that the architecture of reinvention, requires immense talent, vision and creativity.

“Historic buildings and iconic landmarks form the fabric of our collective memories.

“This award demonstrates that breathing new life into beloved old buildings, can reap huge rewards – for their users and our planet.

“I hope that this inaugural award will act as a catalyst, inspiring others to take up the retrofit challenge and that we will see many more exciting and ambitious examples in the future.”

Image credit: Ben McPhee