RIBA Regional Awards 2014: South West / Wessex
Ferguson Mann Architects for Urban Splash
Good allusions are rarely drawn from the idea of ‘tobacco-stained’, but the smoky brown of SOM’s Imperial Tobacco HQ by SOM only refers to the best aspects of classic Chicago modernism. But while its unchanging rusty patina had a timeless quality, the rest of the building had fared less well since closing in 2003.
Ferguson Mann’s intervention to turn this defunct commercial building into an aspirational apartment living concept has been a huge success, despite the challenges it presented. Lower floor areas converted easily, but at upper levels, the architect had to cut an atrium out of the deep plan, not only creating dual aspect flats that can breathe, but introducing a slice that pulls natural light into the building’s heart.
With generous internal floor to ceiling heights and effective space-planning, Lakeshore is a successful conversion ‘where the original architecture retains all of its power’, said the judges.