Projects by Patel Taylor, Wright & Wright, and Make Architects are among the winners selected by this year’s distinguished awards jury.

In association with

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Once again, the Schüco Excellence Awards attracted high numbers of quality entries from a broad range of practices, despite the hardships and uncertainty caused by the pandemic. A key theme that came to the fore in this year’s jury discussion was that excellent façade design requires a multitude of carefully considered and well-co-ordinated elements ­– not least creativity, innovation, technical expertise, and skilful execution. Invariably this necessitates an adaptable specialist contractor with a ‘can-do attitude’ and a responsive manufacturer with high-performance products and systems. Close collaboration between these expert parties and design teams can result in extraordinarily expressive and successful façades – as evidenced by the award winners.

In light of the current climate emergency, good daylighting and energy performance remain critically important when it comes to façade design. The need therefore to adopt an integrated and collaborative approach focused on design and innovation cannot be overstated and sums up the spirit of the Schüco Excellence Awards.

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Schüco Awards 2021 judges included (left to right) Ingrid Petit (Feilden Fowles), Steve Mudie (Alinea Consulting), Hazel Joseph (AHMM), Innes Johnston (Max Fordham), Carol Patterson (OMA), Harry Montresor (Montresor Partnership), Daniel Mulligan (Glenn Howells Architects), and Isabel Allen (Architecture Today)

Chaired by Architecture Today editor Isabel Allen, the 2021 jury comprised architects Ingrid Petit, Carol Patterson, Daniel Mulligan, and Hazel Joseph (all previous Schüco award winners), environmental designer Innes Johnston, as well as Steve Mudie and Harry Montrésor, both with specialist knowledge of façade design. Danny Fitzgerald, National Architectural Manager at Schüco, provided additional technical insight.

In their assessment of the entries, the judges focused on four key criteria: creativity, innovation, technical skill and creative collaboration. Does the project demonstrate design quality, whether on a macro and/or micro scale? Is there evidence of significant innovation in terms of design, detail or construction expertise? Does the project show high levels of technical skill in its detailed design and/or assembly? Does the project demonstrate a productive and creative collaboration between the designer, specialist contractor and/or manufacturer?

The winning and commended projects were announced at a live online awards event hosted by Charlie Luxton on 16 September, and feature in a special supplement to Architecture Today issue 316.

Read on to discover this year’s winners and view the supplement for a full analysis and jury statements on each project.

Winning and commended projects

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Overall Winner

Project: St George’s Bristol
Architect: Patel Taylor
Specialist contractor: Enhanced Glazing Systems
Client: St George’s Bristol
Photo: Peter Cook

The judges applauded the sophisticated and expressive use of curtain walling on this highly sensitive cultural project. Special praise was reserved for the glazed link joining the two structures.

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Commercial Building Winner

Project: 22 Handyside Street, London
Architect: Coffey Architects / Stride Treglown
Specialist contractor: Fleetwood Architectural Aluminium
Client: Argent
Photo: Timothy Soar

The judges praised the project for its architectural elegance and clever use of proprietary façade systems to augment and unify the overall composition.

Read more about 22 Handyside Street

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Cultural Building Winner

Project: Lambeth Palace Library, London
Architect: Wright & Wright Architects
Client: Church of England
Photo: Hufton & Crow

The project’s highly accomplished urban response was applauded by the jury, as was the sophisticated way in which the window systems, external detailing and internal joinery are seamlessly integrated into the overall design.

Read Rolfe Kentish’s review of Lambeth Palace Library

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Education and Health Winner

Project: UCLan Preston Student Centre, Lancashire
Architect: Hawkins\Brown
Specialist contractor: Charles Henshaw & Sons Ltd
Client: University of Central Lancashire
Photo: Bowmer + Kirkland

The project’s structural and technical prowess was applauded by the judges. They also praised the project team for its ability to push the façade system to the absolute limit while preserving the architectural parti.

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Refurbishment Project Winner

Project: 67-69 Whitfield Street, London
Architect: Make Architects
Specialist contractor: Propak Architectural Glazing Ltd
Client: Derwent London
Photo: Matt Chisnell

The jury complimented the scheme for its sensitive and highly considered approach to façade design. It was particularly impressed by the high-performance replacement windows which resolve a number of technical and aesthetic issues.

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Residential Development Winner 

Project: Essoldo House, London
Architect: Nick Shipp Architects
Specialist contractor: MTW Architectural Ltd
Client: Ilona House Securities
Photo: Nick Shipp Architects

The judges applauded the project’s compositional strength, crisp detailing and skilful execution. They also felt that the curved glass corner was particularly well resolved.

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Individual House Winner

Project: Kyrchil, Dorset
Architect: DMW Architects
Specialist contractor: Camel Glass
Client: Private
Photo: Ryan Martin

The jury complimented the scheme on its understated elegance, refined detailing and sophisticated use of daylight.

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Individual House Improvement Winner

Project: The Den, Tighnabruaich
Architect: Technique Studio / Stallan-Brand
Specialist contractor: Express Bi-folding Doors
Client: Mr & Mrs Stallan
Schüco systems / products
Photo: Dapple Photography

The jury applauded the project for its sensitivity, technical ingenuity, and competent delivery. Above all, it felt that the scheme was a significant improvement on the existing dwelling.

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Steel Project Winner

Project: St George’s Bristol
Architect: Patel Taylor
Specialist contractor: Enhanced Glazing Systems
Client: St George’s Bristol
Photo: Peter Cook

The judges applauded the sophisticated and expressive use of curtain walling on this highly sensitive cultural project. Special praise was reserved for the glazed link joining the two structures.

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Specialist Contractor Winner

Project: 3 Arena Central, Birmingham
Architect: Make Architects
Specialist contractor: NA Curtain Walling Ltd
Client: Arena Central Developments Ltd
Photo: Make Architects

The judges were full of praise for the leading role that NA Curtain Walling took in delivering this visually striking and technically demanding project. They were especially impressed by the skilful way in which the curtain wall and rainscreen panel elements were brought together.