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    Architects win prestigious Turner Prize for the first time in history

    Nathan Johnson

    London-based architecture collective, Assemble has stunned the global art community to win the 2015 Turner Prize – Europe’s most prestigious contemporary visual art award.

    The firm, which is made up of eighteen members with backgrounds in architecture, english, history, philosophy, and construction, became the first architecture practice to be awarded the Turner Prize, beating British artists Bonnie Camplin and Janice Kerbel, and German artist Nicole Wermers along the way.

    Assemble were honoured for their work on the Granby Four Streets redevelopment project, a cluster of working-class terraced houses in Toxteth, Liverpool, North West England.

    As reported in The Guardian, Turner Prize judges praised what they called "a ground-up approach to regeneration, city planning and development in opposition to corporate gentrification."

    “They draw on long traditions of artistic and collective initiatives that experiment in art, design and architecture,” says the Jury Statement.

    “In doing so they offer alternative models to how societies can work. The long-term collaboration between Granby Four Streets and Assemble shows the importance of artistic practice being able to drive and shape urgent issues."

    As 2015 laureates of the Turner Prize, they will receive a £25,000 prize (around $52,000 AUD at time of print).


    ABOUT GRANBY FOUR STREETS (courtesy of the architects)

    The Granby Four Streets are a cluster of terraced houses in Toxteth, Liverpool that were built around 1900 to house artisan workers. Following the Toxteth riots in 1981, the council acquired many of the houses in the area for demolition and redevelopment.  Hundreds of people were moved out the area and houses subsequently fell into disrepair.

    Iso-big-1.jpgAbove: Plan for Granby Four Streets.

    Local residents consistently fought plans for demolition and battled to save the houses. Over the past 10 years they have cleaned and planted their streets, painted the empty houses, organized a thriving monthly market, founded a Community Land Trust and shown their area in a different light.

    Greenhouse-view.jpgworkshop-2.jpgTop: Design for a winter garden in unused home in Granby Four Streets.
    Above: At the centre of Granby Four Streets project is the The Granby Workshop, a space created by Assemble to create and sell products to assist with the regeneration costs.


    Assemble worked with the Granby Four Streets CLT and Steinbeck Studios to present a sustainable and incremental vision for the area that builds on the hard work already done by local residents and translates it to the refurbishment of housing, public space and the provision of new work and enterprise opportunities.

    The approach is characterised by celebrating the value of the area’s architectural and cultural heritage, supporting public involvement and partnership working, offering local training and employment opportunities and nurturing the resourcefulness and DIY spirit that defines the four streets.


    Images: Assemble
    Video: Tate

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