198 CAL wins Retrofit Award!

The exterior of a three storey building on an autumnal street

We are delighted that 198 Contemporary Arts and Learning has been named among the winners of the AJ Retrofit Awards 2023.


The awards, hosted by the Architect’s Journal, celebrate design expertise behind the renewal and repurposing of existing buildings, setting a precedent for ways to slash the industry’s carbon footprint in the process.

198 CAL was named winner in the Cultural and Religious Building (up to £5m) category.

Judges praised the retrofit and extension, describing it as ‘a beautiful approach’ that is ‘super-coherent’, brimming with ‘architectural integrity’ and ‘a real sense of trying to retain the best of the building’.

198 CAL is a visual arts organisation in Brixton, London, led and owned by members of the Black community. Two timber framed storeys were added above the existing concrete ‘shop’ which was retained and refurbished. The building now houses galleries, studios and workspaces for activists, artists, education and outreach activities, and a team of community nurses.

This approach, including the re-use of existing foundations across most of the site, resulted in a 70 per cent saving in embodied carbon against a conventional solution.

"It has genuinely revitalised an existing building, and it is meaningfully sustainable."

AJ Retrofit Award Judges