RIBA National Awards for Foyles and Bonhams

Fresh off the back of the Regional wins for Foyles and Bonhams, and Client of the Year respectively for Foyles, both schemes were further recognised in the National categories last night.

RIBA Awards are the most rigorously judged awards for architectural excellence in the UK, with the winning buildings then eligible for the prestigious RIBA Stirling Prize presented in October 2015.

The judges said of Bonhams ‘This is an exemplary urban infill on an extremely complicated site. From the grand new entrance, to the refurbished Deco facades and new courtyard elevations, this is a truly thoughtful and well-considered project.

The quality of the workmanship and design continues throughout from the dining rooms, though the galleries-cum-salerooms, to the architect-designed auctioneer’s plinth.

The project was delivered in 13 months flat due to the exigencies of the Crossrail project. It provides object lessons in both masterful detailing and the potential of near-invisible places to offer great architectural experiences.’

Foyles was the only retail scheme awarded in the National category. The new store opened its doors in June 2014, and has since gone from strength to strength.

Judges described the scheme as ‘a rare example of an independent retailer working closely with the architect and design team to transform bookshopping into a social, cultural and even urban experience.’

They went on to say ‘The architects’ skill has been in exploiting the split-levels and the light-well of the old college to produce a building whose section entices the shopper in and through the store. They have designed everything down to the book-cases, some of which were inspired by Alvar Aalto. This is an exemplary light-filled refurbishment and welcome addition to a West End still trying to respond to the threats of online shopping, the mega-bookshop chains and out of town retail malls.’