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High Performing Buildings – February's Roundup

High Performing Buildings – February's Roundup
23 February 2023

This month’s high performing buildings roundup looks at shortlisted projects in the RIBA Regional Awards, which celebrate great architecture across the UK.


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RIBA Regional Awards 2023


The awards commend buildings that reflect changes and innovations in architecture, no matter their size or budget. Projects must, at their core, display a commitment to developing buildings for the improvement and enhancement of people’s lives. The awards are rigorously judged by an expert jury, and represent one of the most valued architecture awards in the UK.

So far, shortlists have been announced from areas including the North East, South West, East of England and London, with others to follow throughout February.

Let’s take a look at some of the most notable shortlisted projects:


6 Orsman Road


6 Orsman Road is a hybrid office that has the principles of “reduce, reuse and recycle” at its heart. This starts from its innovative structure which combines CLT and steel in a zero-waste construction. Ultimately, the structure of the building is bolted together and applied elements such as SIP panels, cladding, timber decking, steel balustrades can all be detached and reused when the building reaches the end of its useful life.

The layout is also extremely adaptable –  with no internal load-bearing walls and minimal internal columns the building has a completely flexible interior. A demountable partition system has been used throughout, meaning that the office space can effectively be reconfigured overnight. A flexible partition system means occupants have a high level of control over their workspace.



The Marshall Building


The Marshall Building is a new development for the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) on Lincoln's Inn Fields, and the second development that contractor Mace has delivered for the institution since the Centre Building completion in 2019.


Picture: a photograph of the exterior of The Marshall Building. Image Credit: RIBA


Designed by Grafton Architects, the new building houses study spaces, academic offices, lecture theatres, and a 20mx35m sports hall. Grafton developed a rotating structure to address the need to transfer from the smaller spans at the upper levels, to the larger spans required at ground and lower ground levels. This led to a weave of columns and beams which direct the forces of gravity to the ground, through the increasing outward spread of tapered diagonal “branches”.

In terms of construction materials, Mace used sustainably produced concrete, with ground granulated blast furnace slag (GGBS) reduce the cement content, and concrete volumes reduced through extensive post-tensioning.  The 1145 precast panels that make up the low carbon frame were also manufactured off-site in order to reduce time and costs. 


Sunderland City Hall


Sunderland City Hall is one of the most recent additions to the city centre skyline, a 33m high civic hub.

Located on the former Vaux brewery site, the building houses various council departments in a modern environment. The building provides flexible office accommodation for Sunderland City Council, the Department of Work and Pensions, Gentoo (Sunderland’s registered social landlord) and Sunderland College.

One of the most striking features of the build is its oxide red steel staircase, which was locally sourced and fabricated.


Picture: a photograph of the staircase in Sunderland City Hall. Image Credit: RIBA


In 2022, the building was celebrated as “Best of the Best” at the British Council for Offices’ (BCO) National Awards, also taking home the “Corporate Workplace” award. Judges praised the building as an ambitious and transformative project that will be the catalyst for creating a new commercial district and rejuvenating the wider city.

The building uses heat recovery, air source heat pumps, green roofs and low water volume appliances to reduce CO2 emissions and achieves an embodied carbon figure 20 per cent lower than a typical office.

Picture: a photograph of a seating area within 6 Orsmaan Road. Image Credit: RIBA

Article written by Ella Tansley | Published 23 February 2023


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