RIBA National Awards for four EOC projects

Four projects that EOC teams have worked on have received RIBA National Awards. The awards recognise exceptional architectural vision and the kind of effective collaboration required to realise it. We are proud to have worked with some of the construction industry's leading designers on these fantastic buildings.


Beecroft Building, University of Oxford
Hawkins Brown

Judges' citation:

The Beecroft Building is an immaculately designed addition to Oxford University. As the first new building to the Physics Department in 50 years, it has completely transformed the capabilities and working behaviours of one of the largest physics departments in the world. A sophisticated, erudite design that is testament to the project team’s close alliance and hard work. An absolutely astounding space in which every scientific detail has been thought through and delivered with a finesse and refinement that is incomparable.

The environmental and anti-vibration performance of the high specification laboratories is amongst the very best worldwide. The facilities will host ground-breaking experiments reliant on stabilised environments, therefore the architects had to work in close partnership with clients, contractors and the Department’s researchers to achieve a precise design that is unparalleled globally. The complex of basement laboratories below ground, reaching a depth of 16-metres, has been exquisitely constructed with incredible care given to achieving specific technological performance requirements.

Sited in a sensitive location amongst several listed buildings, a conservation area and historic trees, the articulated façade, volumetric massing and material aesthetic have been consciously designed in harmony with the local vicinity. The combination of bronze, glass and expanded copper mesh create a metallic rhythm to the building that is contemporary in execution, whilst complementing the surrounding context. The vertical emphasis and hue of the naturally weathering bronze fins embolden the tempo of the façade. The large picture windows form a visual connection between the researchers within, looking to the future, and the local context, which is steeped in historical significance. The synergy of past, present and future are all whirred into one contemplative creation that inspires collective communication and a renewed thirst for innovation. Internally, coworking areas, arranged around curving blackboards and timber balustrades with metallic orbs hanging like expanded reflective atoms, provide informal areas for discussion and debate. The Department’s design challenges pre-conceived norms about academic environments with these breakout spaces for collaborative open working, further encouraging the exchange of ideas on the fundamental laws of nature.

A research facility like no other, an incredible feat of engineering and architecture. The resultant outcome is superb. The synthesis of interior and exterior visuals, rigorous attention to detail and clever technological elements culminate to form a truly world-class facility. The excellent relationship between client, architect and contractor has propelled this project forward to become an unrivalled winner.

Read more about the project here


Coal Drops Yard, London
Heatherwick Studio

Judges' citation:

With its unusual mix of retail spaces, restaurants and bars, the stage has been set for this interesting industrial site to reinvent itself and attract a new era of ‘experiential retail’. The client has backed their hunch that consumers can be attracted over to this well connected but hitherto commercially untested quarter of London and the design team have thrown their all into making an interesting open space, negotiating with Historic England to remove large sections of a viaduct, the ghost of which is subtly recorded in the hard landscaping of the now expansive lower yard created by this important architectural move. They have re-invigorated a complex set of arches used for storing coal together with their associated marshalling yards into a characterful cobbled shared surface to be used by shoppers, office workers, residents and tourists. The servicing of the units is also done from this shared service with strict timetabling. Curatorial effort is evident in the way the retail units are being filled and the open spaces are programmed to be used.

The relatively modest Grade II Listed coal drop building and its adjoining non-listed building have been sensitively refurbished back to an appropriate level of conservation-led repair, which reflects the functional industrial heritage of the site, and the needs of its current users. They are topped off by the clever modern intervention of two dramatic twisted ‘kissing roofs’, this crowning theatrical gesture is done with panache with which the illusion of the two roofs being pulled away and joined together which has been achieved through a considerable and impressive feat of engineering. The point of the ‘kiss’ results in a seductive destination whose generous space overlooking the yards is in contrast to the smaller retail units and creates an undeniable focal point. Due to open later this year, this anchor tenant’s ability to attract retail footfall is all a part of the calculated risk that the client of this ambitious regeneration project has taken.

It was evident in the scheme and from ‘before’ photos, just how much repair work had been done and that great care had been taken to identify original materials including the slate tiles for the roof, which were quarried from the same seam as the original. The character of the historic buildings and their setting have been brought back to life through sensitive adaptation and clever reuse for the 21st Century, whilst effectively retaining their industrial feel and vestiges of the past.

Read more about the project here


Sevenoaks School Science & Technology and Global Study Centres, Kent
Tim Ronalds Architects

Judges' citation:

This carefully developed building completes a major phase of a development at an Independent school in Sevenoaks. The client has been an intelligent, experienced and above all enthusiastic member of the design team. The building is sited adjacent to the RIBA Award winning Performing Arts Centre also completed by Tim Ronalds Architects in 2010. The two buildings form the eastern and northern edges of a new courtyard playground.

Externally, the two wings of the new building are formed in the same beautifully detailed brickwork. One block, however, demonstrates an original notion of science building as factory through its expressed saw tooth roof line.

Internally the building has a more complex and intricate expression. The main block encloses a central atrium space, three storeys in height. This has become the focus of a previously disparate department and is a great cathedral of a space, full of life and light. Classrooms are arranged around the atrium and are separated from the circulation space by glass vitrines - display cases filled with student project work, interpretation material and other display items. Throughout the building finishes are stripped back to reveal the main materials of construction: precast concrete, steel and laminated timber – all beautifully detailed, constructed and finished. The building’s ventilation strategy is seamlessly incorporated into the composition.

This is a serious work of architecture, respectful to adjacent buildings of all ages, urbanistic in its spatial approach and remarkably consistent in the high-quality approach to detailing.

Read more about the project here


South London Gallery, Peckham
6a Architects

Judges' citation:

This sensitive conversion of a purpose-built 1867 fire station has reinvented the building, giving it a new lease of life as an art gallery and providing a variety of different spaces for community use. It is a truly inclusive community building that welcomes and engages a broad range of visitors with inviting, light-filled spaces.

The new spaces are true to the original layout and character of the building, which was once home to firemen and their families, who lived above the horse-drawn fire engines. The impressive light-filled entrance space has been achieved by the clever decision to remove floors, allowing the space to be opened up and top lit.

A beautifully crafted metal and concrete stair makes sophisticated reference to a number of the existing features in the building, including the lattice work in the risers, which was inspired by the original stone floor. The stair is sensitively inserted and brings unity to all the new spaces.

The ventilation strategy is seamlessly integrated into the building using slots in the reclaimed timber floor and integrated grilles above the doors. The detailing throughout the building has been carefully and meticulously considered, and considerable care and attention have been given to enhancing historic features.

The spaces are generously sized to meet the needs of art exhibitions and community uses. The removal of the ceiling at the upper levels reveals the roof structure and creates a lofty, light-filled studio for the artist in residence.

The building achieves a true sense of elegance and effortlessness in its character, achieved by a successful collaboration between the client and architect and a meticulous design approach. The resulting is a significant asset for the South London Gallery and the community it serves.

Read more about the project here