Stirling prize: Damien Hirst's street-length art gallery is the winner of this year's prestigious architecture award

Emma Haslett
Follow Emma
A view of the Newport Street Gallery
Newport Street Gallery was built to house Damien Hirst's private art collection (Source: Riba)

The winner of this year's coveted Stirling Prize has been unveiled - and it's fitting that the coveted architectural award should, this year, go to an art gallery.

Yep, this year the Royal Institute of British Architects' (Riba) prestigious award has gone to Vauxhall's Newport Street Gallery, built to house Damien Hirst's private art collection, which opened at the end of last year.

The gallery is the work of London-based architecture firm Caruso St John, and takes the form of a three converted Victorian industrial buildings facing a railway line in Vauxhall.

The listed buildings, former carpentry and scenery painting workshops for West End theatres, are flanked at either end by new buildings - one with what the judges described as a "striking, spiky saw-tooth roof".

"The new additions have a specially-created hard pale red brick finish to closely reference the original buildings; while a huge LED panel on the railway façade encourages passing train commuters to visit," they added.

"The ground and upper floors within the interconnected five buildings are continuous, with new spiral staircases on their side, to create flexible spaces able to accommodate everything from individual works to larger shows."

(Click or tap on the images to see them in full screen)

You might also like: The Carbuncle Cup - these are Britain's ugliest new buildings

This year's competition was hard-fought: the list of nominees included Glasgow's City of Glasgow College, Elephant & Castle's "tranquil" Trafalgar Place and the Bodleian's Weston Library.

But Riba president Jane Duncan said Hirst had made an "exceptional contribution to the UK’s strong history of private patronage of architecture".

"Not only has [he] opened up his enviable private art collection to the world, but he has commissioned a real work of art to house it in.

“Caruso St John have created a stunningly versatile space from a number of linked buildings, with beautifully crafted staircases and superb details including tactile brick facades that blend the street externally and create a succession of wonderful gallery spaces."

The gallery spans 37,000 sq ft and contains over 3,000 works of art, including works by Francis Bacon, Picasso, Tracey Emin, Jeff Koons and Banksy.

Read more: When it comes to architecture, does size matter?

Related articles