Damien Hirst’s Newport Street Gallery by architects Caruso St John has won the RIBA Stirling Prize. Considered the most prestigious prize for architecture in the UK, the annual award goes to the best new building of the year.
The artist acquired the three listed Victorian warehouses, previously used as set building workshops for West End theatres, to convert them into a gallery for contemporary art.
Caruso St John has renovated the brick buildings and extended them with two new structures, so the gallery takes up almost an entire street in south London’s Vauxhall. The architects added a spiky saw tooth roof to one section, referencing the design of old factory buildings but with a difference, as the angled roof lights appear to fold out like a concertina. On the facade that faces the railway tracks the architects have also added a huge LED panel to brandish artworks to beckon potential visitors. Inside, the five buildings interconnect in one continuous space allowing for the display of larger works.
The building was chosen from a shortlist of six buildings including Herzog & de Meuron’s Blavatnik School of Government at the University of Oxford. RIBA president Jane Duncan said: “Not only has Damien opened up his enviable private art collection to the world, but he has commissioned a real work of art to house it in.”
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