‘It sounded crazy’: palatial six-storey hymn to social interaction is Britain’s best new building

‘It sounded crazy’: palatial six-storey hymn to social interaction is Britain’s best new building

After more than a year of Zoom tutorials and online lectures, students are back learning face to face – and nowhere more so than at Kingston University’s Town House, a cathedral of social interaction that has been named the UK’s best new building. A palatial £50m complex, the winner of the 2021 RIBA Stirling prize is a six-storey hymn to one of the main reasons for going to university: meeting other people. It is a place of wide sociable staircases, broad public terraces, and open-plan study areas that look across to dance studios and performance spaces. In its free-flowing generosity, it is the exact opposite of the usual institutional world of siloed academic departments protected by swipecards. Instead, this is a welcoming, transparent place, where even the public is free …
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