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RIBA Launches Award for Best Reuse of Buildings

RIBA Launches Award for Best Reuse of Buildings
20 July 2023

The Royal Institute of British Architects has created a new award to celebrate buildings that have been reused or retrofitted.

Four buildings have been shortlisted for RIBA’s first Reinvention Award, which recognises achievement in the creative reuse of buildings to improve their environmental, social, or economic sustainability.

The projects have all reused an existing building or structure, supplied carbon and operational energy where applicable, and demonstrated how the project improved the structure by achieving one or more sustainable outcomes in RIBA’s Sustainable Outcomes Guide.

The award promotes retrofitting as a sustainable way of reducing the need for demolition and new construction.  

The projects that have been shortlisted are: 



  • Great Things Lie Ahead – the refurbishment and extension of a community gym in Holborn to provide a new community building for the Holborn Community Association.
  • Houlton School – a sensitive reimagining of the iconic Grade II-listed Rugby Radio Station transmitter building with three new state-of-the-art school blocks arranged around a central courtyard.
  • Museum of the Home   informed by the rich history of its Grade I-listed almshouse buildings and public gardens, increasing the museum’s public reach and creating one of the largest green spaces in the area.
  • University of Wolverhampton School of Architecture and the Built Environment – a dynamic education facility with exemplary design reflecting the site's rich industrial heritage.


The inaugural winner of the 2023 Reinvention Award will be announced at the RIBA Stirling Prize ceremony for the UK’s best new building on Thursday 19 October 2023 at Victoria Warehouse in Manchester.

RIBA President Simon Allford said: “Looking ahead to the low carbon future, it is vital we always consider how we can reinvent existing buildings to work even better when they accommodate new uses. The careful husbandry of existing resources - including buildings - has a long and noble, if recently forgotten, architectural history that we are relearning - and fast.

“These remarkable projects all demonstrate that the architecture of reinvention, requires immense talent, vision and creativity. Historic buildings and iconic landmarks form the fabric of our collective memories. This award demonstrates that breathing new life into beloved old buildings, can reap huge rewards - for their users and our planet. I hope that this inaugural award will act as a catalyst, inspiring others to take up the retrofit challenge and that we will see many more exciting and ambitious examples in the future.”

Picture: a photograph of the school dining hall at the Houlton School, showing children sitting at communal tables. Image Credit: James Brittain

Article written by Ella Tansley | Published 20 July 2023


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