In 2013, the RIBA Stirling Prize for the best UK building was awarded for the 18th time. 

In the UK’s most important architecture award, the judges look for original, imaginative and well executed designs, which meet the needs of their users. The shortlisted and winning buildings celebrate current UK architectural talent.

From the rule-breaking Evelyn Grace school in London by Zaha Hadid to a cutting edge sustainable housing development near Cambridge, past RIBA Stirling Prize winners have illustrated the social and economic trends that have shaped the UK's buildings and environment.

In 2013 Astley Castle, a groundbreaking modern holiday home inserted into the crumbling walls of an ancient moated castle in Warwickshire by Witherford Watson Mann Architects, won the prize. 

Astley Castle is a 12th century fortified manor which had been lying in ruins since a fire gutted it in 1978. When the architects came to work on the building it was in a state of collapse and on the Heritage at Risk Register which lists endangered UK buildings of high value.

The building had seen many additions and revisions during its history. The architects' solution was to stabilise the ruin and create the next layer of the building’s history. The result (see below) is a highly complex and original new house giving the castle’s visitors a truly unique experience.

Astley Castle inside 590

(Astley Castle; picture credit: Helen Binet)

RIBA President Stephen Hodder described Astley Castle as "an exceptional example of how modern architecture can revive an ancient monument. It is significant because rather than a conventional restoration project, the architects have designed an incredibly powerful contemporary house which is expertly and intricately intertwined with 800 years of history.

This is the first time Witherford Watson Mann has won or been shortlisted for the RIBA Stirling Prize. Its previous buildings include the Amnesty International UK headquarters, the Whitechapel Art Gallery extension in London with Robbrecht en Daem, and Arts Council Manchester.

Astley Castle was chosen by the judges from the following outstanding shortlisted entries:

  • Bishop King Edward Chapel, Cuddesdon, Oxfordshire by Niall McLaughlin Architects
  • Giant’s Causeway Visitor Centre, Northern Ireland by heneghan peng architects
  • Newhall Be, Harlow by Alison Brooks Architects
  • Park Hill Phase 1, Sheffield by Hawkins\Brown with Studio Egret West
  • University of Limerick Medical School by Grafton Architect

The RIBA Stirling Prize is for the best building in the UK by RIBA chartered architects and International Fellows, or in the rest of the EU by an RIBA chartered architect. The RIBA Stirling Prize is chosen from a shortlist drawn up by the RIBA Awards Group following visits to eligible schemes.

The shortlisted buildings are judged on a range of criteria including design vision, innovation and originality, capacity to stimulate engage and delight occupants and visitors, accessibility and sustainability, how fit the building is for its purpose and the level of client satisfaction. 

Previous winners of the RIBA Stirling Prize include: Sainsbury Laboratory, Cambridge by Stanton Williams (2012); Evelyn Grace Academy, London (2011) and MAXXI Museum, Rome (2010) both by Zaha Hadid Architects; Maggie’s Centre at Charing Cross Hospital, London by Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners (2009); Accordia housing development by Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios/Alison Brooks Architects/Maccreanor Lavington (2008); The Museum of Modern Literature, Marbach am Neckar, Germany by David Chipperfield Architects (2007).

The winners of the 2013 RIBA Lubetkin Prize for the best international building and three special awards were:

  • Cool Conservatories, Gardens by the Bay, Singapore by Wilkinson Eyre Architects, won the RIBA Lubetkin Prize for the most outstanding work of international architecture outside the EU by a member of the RIBA. This is the second year running for Wilkinson Eyre Architects, which won the prize last year for Guangzhou International Finance Centre.

Cooled Conservatories Gardens By The Bay 04 Craig Sheppard 590Px

 (Cool Conservatories, Gardens by the Bay, Singapore by Wilkinson Eyre Architects; picture credit, Craig Sheppard)

  • Slip House in Brixton, South London, by Carl Turner Architects won the RIBA Manser Medal for the best new private home.
  • Montpelier Community Nursery by AY architects won the RIBA’s 2013 Stephen Lawrence Prize. Set up in memory of Stephen Lawrence who was setting out on the road to becoming an architect when he was murdered in 1993 and funded by the Marco Goldschmied Foundation, the prize rewards the best project with a construction budget of less than £1 million and is intended to encourage fresh talent working with smaller budgets
  • The National Trust won the 2013 RIBA Client of the Year. The award recognizes the role good clients play in the delivery of fine architecture.

Full information about the RIBA Stirling Prize, including previous winners is at: