On Monday 7th December, Architecture collective ‘Assemble’ were announced as winners of the 2015 Turner Prize for their collaborative regeneration project in Granby Four Streets, Liverpool. They are the first Architectural ensemble to do so, and the youngest winners in the Prize’s history. 14 members of the group are alumni of Cambridge University Department of Architecture, from which they graduated in 2009.
The group came together after their final year exhibition in London, in June 2009, and began developing projects in 2010. The first of these was the Cineroleum, a self-initiated project that transformed a disused petrol station into a public cinema space on the Clerkenwell Rd, just minutes away from Shoreditch Town Hall, where they had exhibited their final portfolios the year before. From there they went from strength to strength, with their work including a commission for the Baltic Street Adventure Playground for Dalmarnock, East Glasgow, the lead public art commission for the 2014 Commonwealth Games. But it was their large-scale regeneration of 10 houses in Cairns St, Toxteth, Liverpool, which had previously been listed for demolition, that secured the group the Turner Prize victory.
The success of the project can be seen in the words of Granby resident Hazel Tilley, speaking to Liverpool Confidential: "Assemble brought art into everybody’s lives. Art should not just be for posh houses but accessible to everybody. You can see the pride this has instilled in the people of our community. It is a story of humanity, and if art isn’t about humanity I don’t know what is.” Eleanor Lee, a fellow Granby resident, told The Guardian: “They are so bold and fearless in their designs, and their vision for housing isn’t limited to the usual cream-coloured boxes. They are architects working truly as artists.”
The Department of Architecture would like to offer its warmest congratulations to Assemble for their win.
Image 1: Assemble member Alice Edgerly during her time at Cambridge.
Image 2: Assemble member Lewis Jones takes part in Cambridge Year 1 Studio’s construction project, 2006