UCL News


UCL SSEES wins architectural award

23 June 2006

The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) have given the new UCL SSEES building an award for architectural excellence.

new SEESS building The SSEES headquarters is one of 62 buildings to have been given an award for high architectural standards and contribution to the local environment.

Designed by Short & Associates and located on Taviton Street, the building is a model for environmentally friendly architecture. Alan Short, founder of Short & Associates, said: "Architects have a fascination with ultra-lightweight envelopes. In the summer in our climate very lightweight, glassy buildings are almost inevitably cooled using air conditioning. In aggregate this appears to be having a harmful effect on the environment and a more determined design effort is needed to prevent this massive waste of energy. This building combines ancient techniques with ones that have never been used before. The engineering is sophisticated, the brick façade is seamless, with no movement joints, so indicative of bricks merely used as wallpaper glued to concrete."

The building is unusual in modern architecture as it uses brick and heavy masonry together with natural light wherever possible. The Architects' Journal, who sponsor the awards, summed up the building: "The brick facade of this new academic building challenges the ubiquity of glass elevations and sun screening. The concern for energy conservation together with an accommodation of history has produced a building which is engagingly idiosyncratic, reminiscent of a small palazzo."

The other projects to receive awards range in size and use from the enormous Zaha Hadid-designed Phaeno Science Centre in Germany to the three small cabins used for silence and prayer in the Comeragh Mountains in Ireland, to the conservation of a 1930s house in West Sussex. Projects by up and coming young architects, as well as established names including Richard Rogers Partnership, Alsop Design Ltd and Foster and Partners are amongst the winners.

All the award winners, including the UCL SSEES building, form the longlist for The RIBA Stirling Prize, which will be screened on Channel 4, on 14 October 2006.

To find out more about the awards and UCL SSEES, use the links at the bottom of this article.


RIBA Awards