The GPO Witness History Interpretative Exhibition Centre by Kavanagh Tuite Architects. The winners of the Architects’ Journal Retrofit Awards were announced at the annual retrofit dinner at the Brewery in east London on Wednesday 14 September.
The project was commended in the RIAI Irish Architecture Awards 2016. The GPO is a Protected Structure owing to its historic, social and architectural importance within the Irish architectural canon. The €7.8 million project was completed in advance of the 1916 centenary celebrations. The extent of new building within this space was constrained so as not to overpower the existing building, and was imagined as a crafted box within the space. With this in mind, the materials were chosen carefully to create a contemporary and distinctive identity for the new intervention, whilst being sympathetic and respectful to the context.
Successful schemes included the transformation of a prefab classroom block into a sixth form building in Tower Hamlets by the council’s own architects, WilkinsonEyre’s Stirling Prize-shortlisted Weston Library, and Dow Jones’ £2.38 million revamp of the crypt at Christ Church Spitalfields.
Architects including WilkinsonEyre, AHMM, Hopkins and Dow Jones have triumphed in this year’s AJ Retrofit Awards.
AJ editor-in-chief Christine Murray commented: ‘The Retrofit Awards celebrate the exemplary remodelling of existing buildings to extend the life of the built environment. These projects breathe new life into our built heritage, showcase architectural ingenuity, and make significant energy savings while boosting building performance.
‘This year, I am excited about the diverse radical approaches shown by the entrants – from projects that put industrial buildings to new use, to the over-cladding of a poorly built London school to create inspiring teaching spaces and achieve amazing energy economies.
‘These enlightened approaches to innovation without demolition put paid to the idea of built-in obsolescence. We salute your imagination, and your part in changing mindsets towards a more sustainable tomorrow.’