The winner of the 2023 Building Beauty Award is Bayside in Worthing. This mixed tenure housing development, designed by Allies & Morrison for Roffey Homes, comprises a 170ft seafront tower alongside a six-storey garden square and a beachside café.
The award ceremony from the Royal Fine Art Commission Trust was held on Friday 10 November at Sea Containers House amphitheatre, with prizes presented by Booker Prize-winning author Sir Ben Okri.
The awards – sponsored by Ballymore – celebrate new buildings, engineering structures and urban landscaping schemes that add beauty to Britain’s built environment. The judging panel was led by Stephen Bayley Hon FRIBA, chair of the Royal Fine Art Commission Trust and one of Britain’s foremost design critics.
The overall winner, chosen from the four category winners, was Bayside in Worthing, which received a £12,000 cash prize and will now represent the UK in the race for the International Building Beauty Prize at the 2023 World Architecture Festival in Singapore. Bayside was also the winner of the Building Award, beating Barking Riverside Station and One Silk Street to take the title.
“This is an impressive exercise in using local references to create an original and powerful landmark – a worthy replacement for the depressing 1960s swimming pool that previously occupied the site and which, ironically, turned its back on the sea.” commented the judging panel, chaired by Stephen Bayley. “It sits literally beachside and forms an exclamation mark that balances the horizontal mass of the pier. At the same time, it bookends the seafront terraces of Regency Worthing, harmonising with their white stucco while steering clear of weak historicism. Seen from the distant pier, it announces itself as a destination – not aggressively, but as a complement to the historic town.”
Other category winners
The Engineering Winner was Woolbeding Glasshouse in Midhurst, Sussex, coming out on top over the Cody Dock Rolling Bridge. Designed by Heatherwick Studio for the Woolbeding Charity in collaboration with Eckersley O’Callaghan, who worked on the structural and façade engineering, this 10-sided, 1500sq ft subtropical greenhouse is inspired by Victorian ornamental terrariums, with an opening roof using a hydraulic mechanism to give the plants direct sunlight and ventilation.
The winner of the Public Space category was Elephant Park in Elephant & Castle, London; a public realm project by Gillespies for Lendlease, beating the Battersea Power Station Public Realm to the title.
The Little Gem category went to Plas Glyn-y-Weddw Café in Llanbedrog, Gwynedd, designed by Sanderson Sculpture, Mark Wray Architects and Fold for Plas Glyn-y-Weddw. This spectacular sculptural addition to Wales’s oldest art gallery comprises marine-grade structural glazing, wrapped in an envelope textured with nearly 90,000 handcrafted stainless-steel barnacles, which create a permeable layer that filters natural light to the interior.