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Serpentine Sackler Gallery nominated for London’s first People’s Choice Award for Architecture

Voting has begun in Westminster’s search for the city’s best building of the last decade, recognising the capital’s cutting-edge architecture with a design excellence award.

Westminster is home to some of the country’s most famous buildings and landmarks. To recognise, celebrate and promote architectural excellence across the city, Westminster City Council (WCC) has launched the first People’s Choice Award.

The award has been launched as part of a broader campaign to engage the public in a debate about what makes a great building, recognising cutting edge, high quality designs from the past 10 years.

An expert panel comprising of experienced architects, developers, councillors and planners has shortlisted 12 designs and now those who live, work and visit the city can vote for their favourite modern building.

The panel considered each building’s use of materials, its purpose and impact on the space around it when making the final selection.

The shortlist is made up of buildings which serve all parts of the community with housing, office, retail, education and gallery space all put forward for the public to vote on.

The award is being led by Councillor Robert Davis MBE DL, Deputy Leader of Westminster City Council. He said: “From sleek glass art galleries to outstanding housing developments, each of these buildings finds inventive solutions to unique architectural challenges.

“Brilliant architectural design should be recognised for all the fantastic benefits it can have in terms of health and wellbeing, sustainability, and the simple pleasure we all take from having such striking buildings lining our routes home and to work.

"The best people to ask about the impact these buildings have are those who see them day in, day out, and so I am delighted that we have been able to engage the public in a debate about what makes a great building and to promote design excellence," explained Cllr Davis.

The Serpentine Sackler Gallery opened in 2013, welcoming visitors from around the world to its many programmes exploring contemporary creativity.

In 2010 the Serpentine Gallery won the tender from The Royal Parks to bring the listed Magazine building into public use for the first time in its 208-year history. In partnership with The Royal Parks, the Serpentine Gallery has restored the building, renovating and extending it to designs by Zaha Hadid Architects.

Built in 1805 in London’s Kensington Gardens as a gunpowder store during the Napoleonic Wars, the Magazine building has been renovated and repurposed into the Serpentine Sackler Gallery - one of London’s most popular spaces for art.

A light and transparent extension complements the solidity of the original neo-classical building.

Using tensile architectural fabric supported by sculptural columns crafted in steel, Zaha Hadid Architects created a permanent ‘pavilion in the park’ for the gallery’s new public event space and Magazine restaurant, described by AA Gill in The Sunday Times as “one of the most inspiringly beautiful dining rooms in London, in Europe, in the world… just breathtaking.”

Championing new ideas in contemporary art for almost half a century, the Serpentine Galleries have presented pioneering exhibitions of more than 2,000 artists, showing a wide range of work from emerging practitioners to the most internationally recognised artists and architects of our time, including Zaha Hadid herself.

The Serpentine offers innovative ways for all ages to engage with modern and contemporary art, architecture and design through its exhibitions, projects, education and public programmes.

Since opening the new Sackler Gallery, the Serpentine has welcomed more than 1.2 million visitors each year.

Above image ©Luke Hayes

For further information on the People's Choice Awards please contact Ed Blackwell: email:,   tel: 0207 641 2195

Cllr Robert Davis was awarded an MBE for services to local government and planning in 2015. To encourage higher quality contemporary architecture, Cllr Davis introduced a Design Excellence initiative with the specific aim of raising the bar in standards of design in Westminster. This Design Excellence initiative ran between 2008 and 2010.

The Westminster People’s Choice Award for Architecture shortlist:
City of Westminster College by Schmidt Hammer Lassen Architects
Queens Building renovation by Stiff + Trevillion
Serpentine Sackler Gallery by Zaha Hadid Architects
St Martin in the Fields renovation by Eric Parry Architects
St James Market by Make Architects
Saw Swee Hock Student Centre by O’Donnell + Tuomey Architects
Riverwalk by Stanton Williams Architects
Peabody Avenue by Haworth Tompkins
One Eagle Place by Eric Parry Architects
Reiss Headquartes by Squire and Partners
10 Hill Place by Future Systems/Amanda Levete Architects
28 South Molton Street by DSDHA

The panel*
Cllr Robert Davis MBE DL – Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for the Built Environment, WCC
John Walker – Director of Planning, WCC
Cllr Angela Harvey – Member for Warwick Ward, WCC
Cllr Lindsey Hall – Member for Abbey Road Ward, WCC
Lee Polisano – Founding Partner and President of PLP Architecture
Mike Stiff – Director, Stiff + Trevillion
Deborah Saunt – Director, DSDHA
Simon Bowden – Founder and Director of Simon Bowden Architecture
*Members of the panel did not vote when their own designs were considered


Vote for Westminister People's Choice Award for Architecture 

Serpentine Sackler Gallery - image download