Floating church wins prestigious London architecture award

A converted barge and two Hackney buildings have been selected for RIBA awards celebrating architectural excellence. 

A converted barge and two Hackney buildings have been selected for RIBA awards celebrating architectural excellence. - Credit: Denizen Works

A floating church and two other Hackney builds, have been awarded awards recognising architectural "excellence".

The 2021 Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) awards have been celebrating the work of architects, research and students since 1966 and the Hackney projects are three of 46 selected by an expert jury who visited 77 shortlisted projects across London.

Local winners of the RIBA London awards include a canal boat turned church which is moored in Hackney Wick.

The Floating Church in Hackney Wick.

An expert jury said the church's design successfully maximized all the space inside and around the boat and its flexibility of use makes it a "vital community asset" to neighbourhoods along the London canal network. - Credit: Denizen Works

Genesis Floating Church was converted into a place of worship by architects Denizen Works, which are based in Hackney City Farm Yard on Goldsmiths Row. 

Interior of Genesis Floating Church.

Genesis Floating Church is moored in Hackney Wick. It has a kitchen and doubles as a community centre. - Credit: Denizen Works

The church doubles as a community centre, has a kitchen and a camper van-style accordion roof - said to be inspired by old wood prints of organ bellows. 

The Floating Church's pop-up accordion roof.

The boat has an art-deco theme and features a pop-up accordion roof which glows like a beacon when illuminated at night. - Credit: Denizen Works

Grain House by Hayhurst and Co Architects was also recognised. The firm remodelled and extended a Victorian, semi-detached property in the De Beauvoir Conservation Area in Hackney. 

The open design, meant for a young family, connects new and original living spaces, once walled-off and linked by a narrow "servant's stair". 

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A mixed-use development in Hackney Downs, called Tiger Way, also received a RIBA award. The Hawkins/Brown project has provided the area with a new primary school and nursery and was funded through the sale of 89 private sale residential apartments located on the same site. 

Tiger Way is a mixed-use development in Hackney Downs. 

Tiger Way is an innovative mixed-use development in Hackney Downs. - Credit: Jack Hobhouse

RIBA's awards and prizes are regarded internationally as a mark of excellence. 

Regional Jury Chair, Alfonso Padro, said: “The shortlisted projects were of exceptional quality and generated much debate amongst the expert panellists which in part focused upon sustainability and looking ahead to the creation of local community cohesion."

Interior of a school in Tiger Way in Hackney Downs.

An expert jury said the developments design looks "deceptively simple" and is based on "good, solid sustainable principles". - Credit: Jack Hobhouse

RIBA London Award winners will now be considered for a highly-coveted RIBA National Award in recognition of their architectural excellence, which will be announced on September 9.

The shortlist for the RIBA Stirling Prize for the best building of the year will be drawn from the RIBA National Award-winning projects later in the year.

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