RIBA Stirling Prize winner 2022: The New Library, Magdalene College

RIBA has named The New Library, Magdalene College in Cambridge by Niall McLaughlin Architects, as the winner of the 26th RIBA Stirling Prize.

17 Oct 2022

Photo of the exterior of The New Library, Magdalene College

Photo Credit: ©Nick Kane

The exquisitely detailed new building provides students at the 700-year-old University of Cambridge college with a new library – open 24 hours a day – incorporating an archive and an art gallery.  

Set within the college grounds in Cambridge’s city-centre, the new library replaces the cramped study spaces of the adjacent 17th century Grade I listed Pepys Library and extends the quadrangular arrangement of buildings and courts that have gradually developed from the monastic college site.

Photo showing the Wordsworth room interior of The New Library, Magdalene College

Photo Credit: ©Nick Kane

Honouring the rich surrounding history, Níall McLaughlin Architects combines load-bearing brick, gabled pitched roofs, windows with tracery and brick chimneys that animate the skyline with contemporary sustainable design elements to create a building that will stand the test of time.  

It contrasts openness with intimacy; and deftly achieves the architects’ vision for a structure that gradually rises up towards the light.

Speaking on behalf of the 2022 RIBA Stirling Prize jury, RIBA President Simon Allford, said: “A unique setting with a clear purpose – The New Library at Magdalene College is sophisticated, generous, architecture that has been built to last.   

Creating a new building that will last at least 400 years is a significant challenge, but one that Niall McLaughlin Architects has risen to with the utmost skill, care and responsibility.  

The result – a solid and confident, yet deferential new kid on the college block."

You can read all about the new Magdalen College here and also watch a video about it below: