RIBA Regional Awards 2014: East
Britten-Pears Archive, Aldeburgh
Stanton Williams for Britten-Pears Foundation
Contract £2m. GIA 540m2
More touches of Scandinavian Empiricism here at Stanton Williams’ archive of the manuscripts and personal collection of one of the UK’s greatest 20th century composers. Nestled confidently but deferentially within the gardens of Benjamin Britten’s Red House in Aldeburgh, the judges noted that ‘the clarity and elegance of the building form belies the complex brief and specialised demands of the archive’. And it’s true. The high environmental conditioning demands of the collection are notable purely by their absence, seamlessly integrated into the meticulously detailed concrete and timber interiors and bespoke furniture.
Outside, red brick walls and crisply detailed openings come together to create extremely simple formal massing that, badly handled, can result in cacophony. But the architect has built its reputation on refined detailing, and here (and one hopes Britten would agree with us), it sings.