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Announcement Awards

Grafton Architects awarded Stirling Prize


The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) has named Kingston University London – Town House, designed by Grafton Architects, as the winner of the 25th RIBA Stirling Prize.


Grafton Architects have designed a purposefully democratic and open multi-purpose space, where permeable facades, colonnades and acoustics, an amphitheatre of stairs, and the use of height and light combine to draw people in to use the space and make it their own.

Grafton Architects said:

“We imagined a place where students would feel at home. This building is about people, interaction, light, possibilities. It is about connecting to the community, the passer-by, an invitation to cross the threshold; a three-dimensional framework with layers of silence and layers of sound. Space, volume and light are the organisers. The building edges are not boundaries but active gathering spaces, terraces, galleries. Being outside under the big sky is always just a few steps away. Kingston University gave us this educational vision which we translated into a spatial open matrix. We are absolutely delighted the Kingston Town House has won the prestigious Stirling Prize.”

Speaking on behalf of the 2021 RIBA Stirling Prize jury, Lord Norman Foster said:

“Kingston University Town House is a theatre for life – a warehouse of ideas. It seamlessly brings together student and town communities, creating a progressive new model for higher education, well deserving of international acclaim and attention. In this highly original work of architecture, quiet reading, loud performance, research and learning, can delightfully co-exist. That is no mean feat. Education must be our future – and this must be the future of education.”

The Irish Architecture Foundation congratulates Grafton Architects on their achievement and looks forward to welcoming the practice’s founders Yvonne Farrell and Shelley McNamara to moderate our New Now Next talk with Anne Lacaton and Jean-Philippe Vassal on 25 November!


Photo of dance students in the interior of Kingston University London - Town House
Photo credit: Alice Clancy and Grafton Architects