Accounts of Wilkinson Eyre’s refit of Battersea Power Station and a revived lido in Guernsey are among the most-read buildings articles of the past year
#1 Battersea Power Station starts a new era with Wilkinson Eyre's painstaking refit
Published 17 January 2023
This is a building opening that many people have waited decades for. In his building review, Chris Foges outlines the various ideas and iterations planned for Battersea Power Station – the brick colossus on the Thames – since it closed in 1983, and takes us on a tour through the building now it has been renovated and repurposed by Wilkinson Eyre. Very little of the surviving fabric is shown in a distressed state yet it’s no great loss. In its place, there is dainty décor combined with industrial heft. All four chimneys have been reconstructed. There is both compromise and promise in the 254 residential units, and a rare luxury of inch-by-inch design attention throughout.
#2 Mary Duggan refreshes new London vernacular with landscape-driven housing
Published 28 February 2023
We’ve all become accustomed to the new London vernacular format of brick and punched portrait windows, as well as layouts of streets and squares. But this project, Red Clover Gardens designed by Mary Duggan Architects, abandons the latter in favour of a refreshing take on housing in a landscape of the Ville Radieuse variety. Sited on a hill in Coulsdon, south London, the scheme provides 157 homes across five, 13-sided tridecagon blocks, and showed readers a different way of doing housing by an intriguing and thoughtful practice.
#3 A House For Artists, Barking
First published 12 May 2023
Apparata Architects’ A House for Artists may not have won this year’s Stirling Prize, but on RIBAJ’s leaderboard of interest, the project was the most-read about of all the shortlisted buildings. An ambitious model for affordable and sustainable housing, the scheme, in Barking, provides homes for 12 creative people as flexible live/work units. Its architecture is inventive and curious – no doubt a driver of views – with a concrete structure, exposed ceilings for thermal mass to reduce overheating and covered walkways to reduce solar gain. It's a prototype too so there may be more to come.
#4 Cuddymoss, North Ayrshire wins 2023 RIAS Andrew Doolan Best Building in Scotland Award
First published 31 May 2023, updated November 2023
A ‘building within a ruin’, Cuddymoss in Ayreshire, designed by Ann Nisbet Studio, is the best-performing private house among this year’s most popular building stories. It was already doing fantastically after winning a 2023 RIAS Award before going on to win the Andrew Doolan Best Building in Scotland Award. The new building sits within the fabric of a former longhouse and then cow byre and extends it with a timber-clad addition reached by a glass link. Its architecture is modest yet exquisitely detailed, providing plenty of inspiration.
#5 Renewed Guernsey lido mixes Aussie cool with Scandinavian hygge
Published 21 March 2023
Finally, squeaking into fifth position is a building with a bit of splash: DLM Architects’ transformation of La Vallette Bathing Pools in Guernsey. Working through one of the island’s first private-public community initiatives, the project revives the sea pools’ changing-room facilities and extends them to add a formidable café and bijou events space with almost 360-degree views. Jaunty angles, smooth-faced light-coloured concrete, terraces and timber combine to create an exciting building fit for its existing community but compelling enough to attract new swimmers too.
Evergreen building article 2023 – the most popular archive article that you kept coming back to again and again
How BPN’s Ghost House finally materialised
Published 2 May 2019
Back from the dead? BPN’s Ghost House in Moreton Paddox, Warwickshire, has been a perennially evergreen article on ribaj.com – however, we only started to publish our most popular lists in 2021 and since then it has been pipped to the top spot by Tottenham Hotspur’s stadium and Stealth House. Four years on from publication, it’s getting as many clicks as ever. A kind of sunken lair, the house purports to disrupt a genteel, post-war village, even though it’s barely visible. It caused a planning ruckus but it’s a nonsense when you look down the hill at what’s being built on greenfields around Wellesbourne. Another house has since been built next door: Invisible House.