Architectural practice Caruso St John has won the RIBA Stirling Prize 2016 for its creation of Damien Hirst’s Newport Street Gallery.
The project involved creating a space for artist Hirst to exhibit pieces from his personal collection, including works by Francis Bacon, Tracey Emin and Pablo Picasso.
The gallery comprises three red brick warehouses that were originally built around 1900. There are also two new brick structures, one with a signature spiky roof.
The Newport Street Gallery was selected ahead of five other shortlisted projects: Blavatnik School of Government by Herzog & de Meuron; City of Glasgow College by Michael Laird Architects, and Reiach and Hall Architects; Outhouse by Loyn & Co Architects; Trafalgar Place by dRMM Architects and Weston Library by WilkinsonEyre.
The judges described the winning entry as, ‘a highly accomplished and expertly detailed art gallery [that is] a bold and confident contribution to the best of UK architecture.’
They added: ‘Caruso St John’s approach to conservation is irreverent yet sensitive and achieves a clever solution that expresses a poetic juxtaposition of old and new.’
‘Internally, the five buildings are connected as a continuous and coherent sequence of light-filled gallery spaces. The simple and logical circulation is enlivened by exquisitely detailed and sensuous staircases.’
Unobtrusive and beautiful
This is the first time Caruso St John has won the Stirling Prize, although the British studio has been shortlisted twice before – for the Brick House in west London in 2006, and the New Art Gallery Walsall in 2000.
Newport Street Gallery opened in late 2015 and is currently showing work by American artist Jeff Koons.
Said Hirst: ‘Newport Street Gallery has realised my ambition to create an unobtrusive and beautiful series of buildings that work perfectly as a space to exhibit great art.
‘I wanted to stay true to the history and roots of the building and Caruso St John understood that from the start. I am immensely proud of what we achieved.’
Images: Hélène Binet/Prudence Cuming Associates