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Ecclesistical & Heritage World No.99

York Handmade project nominated for prestigious Stirling Prize

0n6864One of the York Handmade Brick Company’s most acclaimed projects has been shortlisted in the prestigious 2022 RIBA Stirling Prize.

York Handmade, based at Alne, near Easingwold, in North Yorkshire, provided more than 300,000 bricks for the magnificent new Magdalene College Library at Cambridge University.

The library is one of six projects in line for this year’s Stirling Prize, the highest accolade in architecture. It is awarded for the UK’s best new building of the past 12 months.

The contract was worth £300,000 for York Handmade, one of the leading independent brickmakers in the UK.

The architects for the new library at Magdalene College are London-based Niall McLaughlin and the winner of the Stirling Prize will be announced on Thursday October 13.

David Armitage, chairman of York Handmade, commented: “It is a tremendous honour to have played a pivotal role in creating a building which has been nominated for the Stirling Prize. There is no more significant or coveted prize in the architectural world.

“We were so proud when we were asked to provide our bricks for such a prestigious project. Magdalene has a rich cultural heritage and this stunning new building reflects this.

0n6863“The finished building is absolutely magnificent and provides a wonderful place for Magdalene students to work. It is one of our flagship projects over the past few years and we are proud of what we have achieved.

“Our specially chosen and manufactured red bricks and specials complement the unique surroundings and fitting in in with the College’s architecture and landscape.

York Handmade was selected primarily for the colour and the character of its brick, but also because of the company’s ability to manufacture a wide range of intricate specials and sizes to fit in with the design specified by the architect.

Mr Armitage explained: “We supplied no less than 40 different sized or special-shaped bricks for this scheme and the quality of the brickwork is outstanding. We must pay tribute to the contractor and especially Julian Redpath, who is the site manager for Cocksedge Building Contractors Ltd.

“Julian supervised the project throughout in a highly professional manner, ensuring great diligence and care was taken with all the brickwork. This is a classic example of how brickwork should be done and how to avoid staining and efflorescence. 

“One of the most significant features of this project was the substantial number of bricks and specials supplied for the internal walls. This really was a very special brickwork project,” he added.

Tim Allen-Booth, associate with architects Niall McLaughlin, explained: “Our design for the new library was for a bold, modern building, while also having a settled quality that fits with the mediaeval character of the original college buildings. The character of the new brickwork is central to this aim.

0n6862“We chose York Handmade’s bricks for their texture, range of colours and ability to produce the range of special shapes and sizes required. The colour mix was developed in close collaboration with York Handmade’s team. The end result echoes the tapestry-like quality of the college’s mediaeval walls and is a key part of both the interior and exterior of the new building.

“We greatly enjoyed our collaboration with York Handmade on this project, both in the quality of the finished bricks and the design development process. We hope to work with them again in the future.”

Mr Armitage added: “This commission continues our strong relationship with colleges and university buildings at Oxford and Cambridge. We have provided bricks for Christchurch College in Oxford, as well as Oxford’s Said Business School, and Jesus College, Cambridge.

“It is an immense privilege to be associated with such important buildings and projects in historic and sensitive environments. It is also testament to the renaissance of brick as the building material of choice for significant and prestigious developments.”  

The new library now houses Magdalene’s extension collection of books, records and archives, while creating modern teaching and study spaces, together with an art gallery. It is the college’s most ambitious building project in recent history.

David Armitage concluded: “I would also like to thank Ted Ward, our hard-working brick sales agent, whose contacts and commitment secured us this prestigious contract.”

For further information visit www.yorkhandmade.co.uk