A striking addition to Bishop Auckland has been recognised. Credit: Nick Kane

Bishop Auckland project wins big at RIBA North East awards

The architecture body’s regional building of the year has been named as the Auckland Castle, Tower and Faith Museum, by Niall McLaughlin Architects and Purcell.

Judges said that the project constitutes “a valuable extension to the town, offering visitors and locals moments of amusement, reflection, and education while supporting the longevity of the built heritage.”

The 2024 RIBA North East Award winning projects are:

  • Auckland Castle, Tower and Faith Museum by Níall McLaughlin Architects & Purcell: a series of urban and historic interventions for the restoration of a 900-year-old Grade I listed castle
  • Fire Station Auditorium, Sunderland by Flanagan Lawrence Architects with delivery architect Howarth Litchfield: this new auditorium is designed to accommodate audiences in a variety of layouts, with a very quick turnaround time
  • Percy Cottage by Elliott Architects: the creation of additional wings tucked behind a garden wall, with the grade two-listed cottage beyond
  • Raven Tower by Newton Architects with shed structural engineers: a slender tower provides holiday accommodation which recalls local history

The four projects were selected by an expert jury, which visited all shortlisted projects.

RIBA president, Muyiwa Oki, said: “This year’s RIBA Award winning schemes showcase the true value of quality architecture, and the positive impact it has on people’s lives. While carefully considering the needs of the environment, these truly remarkable places and spaces deliver for communities, for residents, for visitors, and people of all ages up and down the country. They are pinnacles of design excellence, and show what can be achieved when architects and clients collaborate successfully.”

RIBA North East jury chair, Emily Posey said: “From Pele Towers to Siege Towers this year’s RIBA North East winners delivered historical conceptual responses to the briefs in varying scales, from small interventions to generous public offerings, heeding the local histories of the area in a playful style.

“The use of local materials and craftsmanship was a common thread in the projects, demonstrating that well-crafted design can be achieved at any scale. Each project found its own way to add tactility and joyful moments to the architectural experience, enriching their locality whether for visitors, local communities, or domestic life.”

Full list of the regional special awards:

  • Auckland Castle, Tower and Faith Museum– RIBA North East Building of the Year 2024 (sponsored by EH Smith), RIBA North East Conservation Award 2024
  • Percy Cottage (Alex Maxwell-Davies) – RIBA North East Project Architect of the Year 2024
  • Fire Station Auditorium, Sunderland (MAC Trust) – RIBA North East Client of the Year 2024
  • Raven Tower– RIBA North East Small Project of the Year 2024

RIBA North East Award 2024 winners will now be considered for a RIBA national award in recognition of their architectural excellence, which will be announced on 11 July. The shortlist for the RIBA Stirling Prize for the best building of the year will be drawn from the RIBA national winners later in the year.

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