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Granary Building scoops Mayors top prize for planning excellence in London

A 19th century granary store that has been spectacularly transformed into a university for the arts has scooped the Mayor’s Award for Planning Excellence at the London Planning Awards.
The Granary Building, which dates from 1851 and once managed the distribution of grain at the height of the Victorian industrial boom, has been converted into a vibrant 39,000 square metre campus for the University of the Arts London.

The Mayor awarded the prize jointly to the London Borough of Camden, English Heritage, architects firm Stanton Williams and developers Argent, in recognition of the careful renovation of the historic Grade II listed building to provide teaching, library and workshop space in the heart of Kings Cross.

The Mayor was impressed by how the Granary Building team worked to ensure that the development retained and restored the historic aspects of the site, integrated them with the new additions to the building and helped to revitalise a largely derelict industrial area of London.

The annual London Planning Awards, jointly run by the Mayor, London First, the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) and London Councils, were created to recognise planning professionals and organisations that have made a vital contribution to the capital in making it a better place to live, work, do business and visit.

The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, said:

“The Granary Building is a stunning development that embraces the past while looking to the future. The transition from a depository of Victorian grain, to a university where the seeds of artistic ideas sprout, has been handled with great sensitivity and flair. It has brought an enlightened focus to the wholesale regeneration of the surrounding area and is a project that matches my own vision for London.
“Once again we have seen yet another stunning crop of entries that showcase the best in urban planning, architecture and design. From shopping centres and schools, to new homes, parks and museums, all of this year’s shortlisted entries demonstrate a wonderful ambition to make our city an even better place to live, work and study.”

Other winners of top awards included: retail and office development One New Change in the City; St Paul’s Way Trust School, Tower Hamlets; Highbury Gardens housing development, Islington; Margaret McMillan Park, Lewisham; the ‘Arsenal on the move’ regeneration project, Islington and St Pancras Chambers refurbishment in Camden.

Baroness Jo Valentine, Chief Executive of London First, said:

“The London Planning Awards celebrate the best of what can be achieved in this great city of ours – they demonstrate what is possible when we work together to create great buildings, places and neighbourhoods. This year’s winners are once again outstanding and will no doubt strengthen London’s position as the best city in the world.”

Colin Haylock, Senior Vice President of the Royal Town Planning Institute said:

“All the shortlisted projects demonstrate planners’ ability to balance environmental, social, and economic considerations, but Granary Square stands out in the way that the planners have thought long and hard about how the project relates to, and links with, the surrounding area to form a focal point for the whole of King’s Cross.”

London Councils’ Executive Member for Planning, Councillor Chris Roberts, said:

“The planning and architectural development of our City is critical to the way in which we view and feel about ourselves and the place we live. More than that, it sets a framework for how others see us and interpret us. As London continues its promotion and celebration of the latest in excellent urban design, it is pleasing to see so many entries from London boroughs and I congratulate all the shortlisted nominees.”

Full list of winning and commended entries

1. Best Built Project – sponsored by CB Richard Ellis

Winner: One New Change – submitted by Land Securities, with Jean Nouvel and Sidell Gibson.

Commended: Sammy Ofer Wing, National Maritime Museum, submitted by Nathaniel Lichfield and Partners, together with the National Maritime Museum, CF Moller Architects, Purcell Miller Tritton, Churchman Landscape Architects and Malcolm Reading Consultants.

2. Best Built Project – Community Scale Scheme. Sponsored by Land Securities.

Winner: St Paul’s Way Trust School – submitted by Astudio, with Bouygues UK and the London Borough of Tower Hamlets.

3. Best Conceptual Project – sponsored by Berwin Leighton Paisner.

Winner: Walthamstow Wetlands – submitted by the London Borough of Waltham Forest.

4. Best New Place to Live – sponsored by Ardmore Group.

Winner: Highbury Gardens – submitted by First Base and the Homes and Communities Agency.

Commended: Triscott House – submitted by KKM Architects, with the London Borough of Hillingdon, the Homes and Communities Agency and Breyer Group Plc.

5. Best New Public Space – sponsored by Hogan Lovells.

Winner: Margaret McMillan Park – submitted by the London Borough of Lewisham and The Landscape Group.

6. Best Built Project – Five Years On – sponsored by GVA.

Winner: Arsenal On The Move – submitted by Savills Planning, together with Arsenal Football Club, Anthony Green & Spencer and Populas Architects.

Commended: The Home Office Building – submitted by Bouygues UK, together with Ecovert (EFM), Infrared Capital Partners Ltd, Terry Farrell & Partners.

7. Best Historic Building Management – sponsored by English Heritage.

Winner: St Pancras Chambers – submitted by the London Borough of Camden, with English Heritage and RHWL.

Notes to editors

1. The London Planning Awards, now in their ninth year, are run jointly by the Mayor, London First, the RTPI and London Councils, and are open to non-members of London First and the RTPI. Local authorities, consultants, community groups, developers, public agencies, partnerships and other teams are eligible to enter. Applicants may enter their own work or be nominated.

2. London First is a business membership organisation whose mission is to make London the best city in the world in which to do business. London First undertakes this by mobilising the experience, expertise and enthusiasm of the private sector to develop practical solutions to the challenges facing London. London First also seeks to persuade central and London government to make the investments that London needs in its infrastructure.

3. London First delivers its activities with the support of the capital’s major businesses in key sectors such as finance, professional services, property, ICT, creative industries, hospitality and retail. Membership also includes all of London’s higher education institutions as well as further education colleges and NHS hospital trusts. London First members represent a quarter of London’s GDP.

4. London Councils is committed to fighting for more resources for London and getting the best possible deal for London’s 33 councils. We develop policy, lobby government and others, and run a range of services designed to make life better for Londoners.

5. Visual materials including logos and pictures of shortlisted entries, previous winners and images of the Awards ceremony at City Hall are available upon request. Please contact Emma Apter at London First for more details on 020 7665 1427 or 07535 977 004 or by emailing

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