Bethnal Green Library, a Hackney housing estate and Whitechapel’s neuron pod shortlisted for architectural awards

Bethnal Green Library Pic: Tower Hamlets Council

The renovation of Bethnal Green Library and other east London building projects have been shortlisted for the New London Architecture Awards 2019 during the month-long  London Festival of Architecture.

Unlike other similar competitions, this yearly award selects architecture, planning, and construction projects that not only show high architectural standards but also contribute significantly to the city’s wider social and economic well-being.

Peter Murray, NLA chairman and New London Awards judge, said: “The NLA Awards celebrate the best of London architecture – from housing to shops, from churches to temporary installations. Over the decade we have been organising the NLA Awards, we have seen an ongoing improvement in design; this year, our judges say 2019 is a vintage year.”

“One of the changes we have seen in recent years is a growing involvement of local communities in the design of new housing. While many such projects are still in the pipeline, this will be a key game changer in years to come.”

Tower Hamlets Council invested over £600,000 in the last stage of the renovation of Bethnal Green Library, which began in 2015. This Grade Two listed building, originally built as a mansion for the rich merchant John Kirby in the 15th century, is a finalist in the Conservation & Retrofit category. The building used to be a mental asylum before being purchased by the borough for use as housing, later repurposed as a library.

Council-owned properties Hanbury Street from Tower Hamlets, Hoxton Press and Branch Place from Coville Estate in Hackney, are shortlisted in the category of Housing.

Branch Place is also a finalist for the Mayor’s Prize, a special prize awarded to the project that best reflects the Mayor’s ambition for ‘Commissioning Quality’. This housing group is part of Colville Estate, a project in which Hackney Council and estate agency Karakusevic Carson Architects worked closely with the community to renovate Colville neighbourhood, consisting of over 400 homes between Regent’s Canal and Shoreditch Park.

Branch Place, Colville Estate in Hackney Pic: Karakusevic Carson Architects

Other special prizes include Community Prize, Sustainability Prize, Wellbeing Prize, and People’s Choice Award. The winners for each category, as well as the overall winner for the best project in London, will be chosen by a prestigious international jury advised by London-based expert assessors.

Other projects nominated from east London include the New Cross Area Framework and Station Opportunity Study in Lewisham, the Suburban Design Guide Supplementary Planning Document of Croydon, and Hackney Wick Station. The list is closed in Tower Hamlets by the Neuron Pod, a 23-metre long and 10-metre high structure that will be used as an informal science learning area in Queen Mary, University of London in Whitechapel. Designed by leading architect Will Alsop,  the pod is part of the  Centre of the Cell  science education centre, which is aimed at inspiring local school children to pursue careers in the sciences.

Neuron Pod Pic: Queen Mary’s, University of London

The complete list of projects, sorted by the 14 categories, including Culture, Education, Hotels and Workplaces, is found on NLA’s website.

Voting for the People’s Choice Award is open here until June 20. The winners will be announced on July 3 at New London Architecture’s Annual Lunch at The Guildhall, which can be attended by booking here.

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