Young Architect of the Year Awards, YAYA, Results, Architects, Finalists, Images
Young Architect of the Year Award 2012 : Winner
YAYA Winner – Building Design Architecture Prize, London, UK
5 Dec 2012
BD Young Architect of the Year – YAYA 2012
BD names Britain’s Young Architect of the Year Coffey Architects beats the odds
A small London-based business has defied the recession to become Britain’s most promising architecture practice.
Coffey Architects has scooped the coveted Young Architect of the Year Award after impressing a panel of judges including artist Pablo Bronstein, Kathryn Firth of the London Legacy Company and award winning architects Graham Stirk and Clare Wright.
The judges for this year’s Young Architect of the Year Award spent a full two hours deliberating over the choice of winner.
In the end, Coffey won out, the judges being swayed by the energy and professionalism of the presentation and noting their particular admiration for two small libraries that the practice had completed – one for the British Film Institute and the other an addition to a primary school in Kentish Town. These beautifully conceived projects convey an interest in making rooms that runs through all of Coffey’s work.
“This means the world to me because all I’ve ever wanted to be was an architect,” said Phil Coffey. “As well as being an award for what we’ve done, it’s an award for what might be possible in the future. Making things of beauty is what architecture is all about, ideas are not enough – it’s about light, form, empathy and context.”
About the Young Architect of the Year Award
Now in its 15th year, the Autodesk Young Architect of the Year Award (YAYA) has long established itself as the UK’s premier award for emerging British architects.
Organised by leading architecture paper BD, the unique judging process involves internationally renowned architects and critics and results in one of the most rigorous and stimulating competitions around. Entries are accepted from practices where the majority of principals are 40 years or younger. Entries from architects with a strong philosophy but without the back up of much built work are encouraged, as are entries from previous YAYA entrants.
“YAYA has proved itself as a consistently strong means of identifying the most promising young architects of each generation and of offering them a helping hand towards the next stage of their careers,” said BD Executive Editor and Jury chairman Ellis Woodman.
“The list of recent winners, including now well-established names like Lynch Architects, Carmody Groarke and Nord is testament to the prize’s effectiveness at casting a spotlight on the best young talent. Operating as a young architect in the UK remains a far from straightforward proposition but YAYA is a crucial means of allowing new practices to emerge.”
Young Architect of the Year Award 2012 Judging Panel
• Pete Baxter, Autodesk
• Pablo Bronstein, Artist
• Kathryn Firth, London Legacy Company
• Graham Stirk, Rogers Stirk Harbour & Partners
• Clare Wright, Wright & Wright Architects
About Coffey Architects
Founded in 2005, Coffey Architects started by undertaking a £40,000 residential project in Islington, north London, and has since grown to support a staff of six.
Last year, its library extension to a primary school in Kentish Town won the Stephen Lawrence Prize for the best project in the UK budgeted at less than £1 million.
That project comprises a 5m-high reading room that also had to accommodate music lessons. The room’s primary element is a double-height bookshelf that is integrated with the staircase to an upper spectator level.
The practice has also recently completed a library for the British Film Institute. The project has transformed a black box gallery space into an inviting interior through the use of materials and lighting. An array of bronze mesh curtains have been hung across the space, concealing the light sources and lending the room a pronounced rhythm. The judges were struck by the architectural ambition that Coffey brought to projects of even the smallest scale, enjoying particularly the assurance with which the architects deployed a diverse palette of materials.
The panel also recognised the quality of the competition entries, suggesting that the practice would confidently make the leap to a larger scale of work.
Young Architect of the Year Award – external link to BD article
Location:48 Kingsway Place, London, EC1R 0LU, UK