Tintagel Castle Footbridge leads the way as MRC competition winners compete for new prizes

Chelsea’s Duke of York Restaurant and the Illuminated River light installation also receive nominations

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Tintagel Castle Footbridge; the Duke of York Restaurant; and the Illuminated River

Tintagel Castle Footbridge has won a RIBA Regional Award 2021, given to UK buildings for their regional importance as pieces of architecture.

This year’s awards, which were selected from the shortlists for the postponed RIBA Awards 2020, were judged by juries comprised of experts and peers, including a regional representative and specialists in sustainability and conservation.

Regional Award winners will now be considered for a coveted RIBA National Award in recognition of their architectural significance; the winners are due to be announced this September. These National Award winners will then be submitted for the shortlist for the 2021 RIBA Stirling Prize – the best new building of the year.

Tintagel Castle Footbridge is a RIBA South West Award winner, chosen from a shortlist of 13 projects. The project was the subject of a 2016 MRC competition, won by Ney & Partners and William Matthews Associates. This elegant and inventive design comprises two cantilevers that span the dramatic chasm between mainland and island but don’t quite meet in the middle, leaving a 40-milimetre gap that skilfully allows each half of the bridge to expand and contract. Opened to the public in 2019, the Footbridge was also a winner at the 2021 UK Bridge Design Awards.

The project has also been shortlisted in the Infrastructure and Transport Project category of the 2021 AJ Architecture Awards, which recognise excellence in UK architecture across 17 categories. Judged by architects, academics and critics, the AJ Architecture Awards will also consider how each project has met or exceeded its brief, promoted client or community engagement, and excelled in the use of space or sense of place.


Tintagel Castle Footbridge

© David Levene

Two further MRC competition winners have also been nominated in the AJ Architecture Awards – Chelsea’s Duke of York Restaurant has been shortlisted in the Leisure Project category, while the Illuminated River will vie for recognition in the Landscape and Public Realm category.

The Duke of York Restaurant, originally called the Cadogan Café, was designed by Nex Architecture, who triumphed in the 2012 MRC competition with a contemporary design that features an organic, coiled form shaped from pre-cast concrete and curved glass panels. Opened in 2019, the £5.2 million project incorporates an ingenious retractable glass wall that rises and falls depending on the weather, blurring the boundaries between the private dining area and public realm.

Subject of a 2016 MRC competition, the Illuminated River provides London with a stunning light installation spanning several bridges along the Thames. The team led by American light artist Leo Villareal and British architects and urban planners Lifschutz Davidson Sandilands won with a transformative scheme that was beautiful, ambitious and realisable, while remaining considerate of the environment, lighting levels and energy conservation. Nine of London’s bridges have been illuminated as of spring 2021.

The winners of the 2021 AJ Architecture Awards will be announced during a celebratory event in November.