A students' boathouse in Oxford that replaced a listed building destroyed in a fire has won a top architects' award.

Last year, University College's brand new boathouse appeared on the Thames riverbank in South Oxford following a £2.7m construction project.

Now the new building has received a Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) South award.

Andrea Carbogno, a spokesman for London-based Belsize Architects, said: "The original 19th century boathouse of University College succumbed to arson in 1999.

"It took the college almost eight years before a design competition was staged to replace the former Grade II-listed structure.

"Belsize Architects was one of four architectural practices invited to submit a proposal to meet the college's requirements for a building which would provide rowing, social and residential facilities.

"For Belsize, the new boathouse did not need to be as traditional in appearance as its predecessor, but it still had to be able to support as much tradition and pride as was invested in the original building."

The £2.1m building, which won the competition in 2004, was completed in October.

Architect Touseer Ahmad added: "We are delighted to receive this prestigious reward.

"The building that burned down was very traditional, and trying to provide a modern replacement was quite a challenge in planning terms.

"Our competitors came up with traditional designs but we took a gamble and it has paid off."

Last summer, Lord Colin Moynihan, chairman of the British Olympic Association, unveiled the new building at Oxford University's Summer Eights competition.

The building was paid for by an insurance pay-out and donations, including money from American businessman James Coleman, a University College graduate.

The building has a large glass frontage on the second-floor, providing panoramic views of the river below.

It also includes boat storage, repair bays, a gym and accom- modation.

It was designed by Shahriar Nassar, and built by the Kidlington-based construction company Kingerlee.

The boathouse is shared by University College, Wolfson College, St Peter's College and Somerville College.

Frank Marshall, estates bursar for University College, said: "It's very pleasing that the new boathouse has won this award.

"Tt is now thriving and the students really enjoy using it.

"The old boathouse was a sad loss but I'm sure the new boathouse will soon become a well-known landmark in the same way."