Assemble wins the Turner Prize

Assemble, winners of the 2015 Turner Prize at Tramway
Assemble, winners of the 2015 Turner Prize at Tramway

The winner of the 2015 Turner Prize was announced in Glasgow last night as architecture collective Assemble.

The 18-strong group, nominated for their in transforming a down-at-heel Liverpool housing estate, is the first ever group to be shortlisted.

The London outfit used low-cost materials and upcycled waste to transform the Granby Four Streets — a derelict area of Toxteth.

The project followed a 20-year campaign by residents to prevent the homes from being demolished.

Alice Edgerley, of Assemble, said: “It is amazing — we really couldn’t believe it when we heard we had won. We were all really surprised when we were nominated in the first place.

“We’ve already done a feasibility study for the wider area and have set up a new social enterprise, making a lot of the products for refurbishments, as a result of the nomination. We just hope it can continue for as long as possible.”

The Turner Prize exhibition opened at Pollokshields venue Tramway in October, showcasing a recreated Assemble workshop and examples of furnishings created for the 10 homes there, from fireplaces to wall tiles.

Other nominees included Canadian artist Janice Kerbel’s musical installation Doug — originally commissioned for a performance at the Mitchell Library, German artist Nicole Wermers’ chairs draped in vintage furs and London artist Bonnie Camplin’s study room exploring the people behind conspiracy theories and subjects as broad as witchcraft and warfare.

Assemble’s offering raised questions about the artistic merit of practical projects — but the judges said: “The long-term collaboration between Granby Four Streets and Assemble shows the importance of artistic practice being able to drive and shape urgent issues in the post-industrial era.”

It’s the first time Glasgow has hosted the Turner Prize, although the city has produced six previous winners — Martin Creed, Susan Philipsz, Douglas Gordon, Simon Starling, Richard Wright and Martin Boyce — four of them graduates from Glasgow School of Art.