Published on 26th May 2011

Press release issued by the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA)

The stunning Maggie's cancer centre and refreshing Parabola Arts Centre in Cheltenham have pipped projects from across the South West to receive an RIBA Award at a ceremony at Salisbury Guildhall recently. 7 winning projects from the South West were presented with RIBA Awards for architectural excellence at a packed ceremony at which 6 other shortlisted schemes were recognised for adding design quality to the region this year.

Maggie's' cancer care centre by MJP Architects, London is a building crafted with refinement and sensuously detailed, with edges and junctions meticulously expressed. Colour, material and light have been used to great effect creating an environment that is robust and tactile, jewel-like and rich. The use of mirrors and visual illusions is both appropriate and refreshing.

Jury chair Professor Adrian Gale said 'This project has been conceived at a micro scale - as a piece of cabinet-making rather than a building. It has been designed from the inside out and the ingenious manipulation of scale has created an intimate and domestic environment within what is actually a very social space.

At the Parabola Arts Centre designed by Foster Wilson Architects, London, the architect inherited a tough challenge. The new building is an extension of a freestanding villa which appears to have been two semi-detached homes. The architect used the opportunity of the inherited dual circulation to organise the complex new building programme.

Juror Isabel Allen said 'The auditorium is intimate but with a degree of gravitas that befits the building's formal expression. In practical terms it is flexible, comfortable and benefits from natural light. The technical challenges relating to acoustics, ventilation and other servicing issues have been addressed with elegance and care'.

Regional Director Jon Watkins said 'This year's RIBA Award winners have all been of excellent quality and emphasize the difference a well-designed built environment can make to the region and its inhabitants. Maggie's is a gem within the sprawling hospital site, and the Parabola Arts Centre has has transformed and cemented the relationship between the college and the town '.

Other winning projects in the South West ranged from the contemporary office extension to an Elizabethan mansion in Salisbury for Wiltshire County Council, schools at Bideford and West Buckland in Devon, and the stunning CircleBath hospital at Bath.

Judged on a regional basis and approved by a national awards jury, the 7 buildings in the South West are amongst 97 buildings in the UK and Europe which have received RIBA Awards today (89 in the UK and 8 in the rest of the EU).  The shortlist for the RIBA Stirling Prize, for the building of the year, will be drawn from the 97 RIBA Award winners.

Speaking today, RIBA President Ruth Reed said: "For 46 years the RIBA Awards have reflected the health of British architecture. This year's winners show that in spite of a terrible worldwide recession, many exceptional buildings have been, and continue to be, built in the UK and overseas. Winning projects demonstrate that even in constrained times committed clients working with talented architects can achieve architectural excellence.

"These well-designed buildings will add huge value to the lives, prosperity, health and pride of their owners, users and communities and I am delighted with year's selection. We are promised an interesting RIBA Stirling Prize shortlist."

The 7 buildings across the South West that have won RIBA Awards are:

Bourne Hill Wiltshire County Council offices, Salisbury (Stanton Williams, London)
Bideford College, Devon (NPS, Exeter)
CircleBath hospital, Bath (Foster + Partners, London)
Maggie's Centre, Cheltenham (MJP Architects, London)
Parabola Arts Centre, Cheltenham (Foster Wilson Architects, London)
Browns Dental Practice, Ivybridge (David Sheppard Architects, Devon)
West Buckland School, Devon (MRJ Rundell & Associates, London)

Notes to editors:

For further press information and images please contact: Jon Watkins on 0844 800 2767 or [email protected]. More information can also be found at
The RIBA Awards have been running continuously since 1966 and are judged and presented locally.  No matter the shape, size, budget or location, RIBA Award winning schemes set the standard for great architecture all across the country. RIBA Awards are for buildings in the UK by RIBA Chartered Architects and RIBA International Fellows. Entries are to be submitted to the region or nation in which the building is situated. Winners are considered for the RIBA Stirling Prize.

The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) champions better buildings, communities and the environment through architecture and our members.