The Astley Castle renovation (and reconstruction) by Witherford Watson Mann Architects received the 2013 Stirling Prize, the highest honor bestowed by the Royal Institute of British Architects and the most prestigious award in U.K. architecture. The architects, who receive a roughly $30,000 cash prize, revived a 12th-century fortified manor in north Warwickshire that has served as home to three queens of England.
Witherford Watson Mann Architects, a London-based firm, completed Astley Castle in 2012. The firm built the project up from near ruins: The stately home has steadily decayed since it was destroyed in a fire in 1978. For the Landmark Trust, an organization that revives important historical buildings to be used as holiday homes, the architects rebuilt the castle's medieval rubble walls using contemporary brick, concrete, and timber construction. The restoration includes more recent Tudor and Jacobean wings, reconstructed as outdoor rooms. The moated castle's stone walls, gashed over time, were retained, giving the project the weight of history.
See more images of Astley Castle in Project Gallery.
"At the dining table, you look out from twelfth and twenty-first century construction to fifteenth and seventeenth century walls—the dialogue across the centuries frames conversations between friends," the firm has noted about the project.
The castle—which was a favorite in the ARCHITECT poll on the Stirling Prize shortlisted entries—beat out five other projects, including a restoration of a Brutalist housing project, a suburban courtyard-housing development, and the vistor's center at Giant’s Causeway in Northern Ireland. (See all the 2013 shortlisted entries.)
See more images of all the shortlisted entries in Project Gallery.
In winning the Stirling Prize, Witherford Watson Mann Architects joins such luminaries as Zaha Hadid Architects, Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners, Foster and Partners, and the Richard Rogers Partnership. The award was announced at a party at Central Saint Martins in London.