The winners of the RIBA’s Stirling and Lubetkin awards, conferred year by year to honor buildings that architects of the United Kingdom have completed in the European Union and outside, respectively, were announced by the Royal Institute of British Architects. The Stirling Prize for 2013 went to the extraordinary renovation of Astley Castle in Warwickshire (England), a project of Witherford Watson Mann, while the Lubetkin Prize was given to a work undertaken by the office of Wilkinson Eyre: the Gardens by the Bay complex in Singapore.
Abandoned for several decades in the wake of a fire that completely devastated it, the 16th-century Astley Castle has now reemerged from the sad state of decay it was in, thanks to the reconstruction operation carried out by the architects after winning the 2007 competition that was organized by The Landmark Trust, a foundation committed to the salvaging of historic constructions for tourist use. The restoration strategy involved engaging in dialogue with the evocative old masonry walls of the site, consolidating the ruins, and reinstating original uses through an intricate construction process.
For its part, Gardens by the Bay in Singapore – built by the also London-based firm of Wilkinson Eyre – is a huge subtropical park arranged around an enormous glass greenhouse of organic forms, bioclimatically designed to withstand Southeast Asian weather and atmosphere conditions. This is achieved, for example, with the unique flower-shaped chimneys that constitute the project’s main iconic feature.