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    Saturday, October 16th, 2021
    Artistic or what? Grafton Architect’s Town House at Kingston University

    The student town house by Grafton Architects at Kingston University near London has been awarded the Stirling Prize by the Royal Institute of British Architects. The judges said it expertly captured  the spirit of learning and the value of community cohesion. Set back from the street, the project extends the public realm, generously blurring its boundary with the pavement and inviting everyone in – students, locals and visitors alike. There are no barriers. A 200m long six-storey, deep colonnade offers shadow and shelter, with terraces and gardens above creating shelves of connected public space. The facades are permeable: open and transparent at the lower levels. 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.

    The Dublin architecture firm is no stranger to big awards. It took the inaugural prize for the World Building of the Year in 2008 with the Luigi Bocconi University Building in Milan. Last year Yvonne Farrell and Shelley McNamara, co-founders of Grafton Architects, received the 2020 Pritzker Prize. The first women to be jointly recognised for the award also received the Royal Gold Medal 2020 from RIBA.