Posts tagged with "RIBA Stirling Prize":

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London dispatch: Bloomberg HQ should not have won this year’s RIBA Stirling Prize

This week, Foster + Partners’ Bloomberg European headquarters in London picked up the 2018 RIBA Stirling Prize, an award ostensibly given to the best building in the U.K., marking the third time Norman Foster's firm has won the award. But was it actually the best piece of architecture on the shortlist of six projects? No. Let me start off by saying that the Bloomberg headquarters is by no means a bad building. The judging panel, chaired by Sir David Adjaye, was right to say the project “pushed the boundaries of research and innovation in architecture." They added in a statement: “Bloomberg has opened up new spaces to sit and breathe in the City,” and went on to laud “the visceral impact of the roof-top view across to St Paul’s from the concourse space,” the office’s helix ramp and its “dynamic new workspaces.” However, all of these listed items of praise are merely examples of pricey green gadgetry and fancy add-ons. While good in their own right, they have not come together well enough to form an exemplary piece of architecture worthy of winning the RIBA Stirling Prize. Inside, amid the myriad of seating, the scheme feels like a glitzy airport at times with stock markets being displayed on screens emulating departure boards. Views out are also hard to come by, besides one panorama of St Paul’s and a vista of the city reserved for Bloomberg's higher-ups as they dine.  The Bloomberg HQ may have also carved a new thoroughfare through this part of London, but it’s hardly space to breathe. The public feels somewhat ushered through the massive slabs of sandstone by undulating bronze fins that dominate the facade, being employed further up to aid air circulation and shun views out in the process. The only spaces where you don’t have to be a paying patron at an establishment to sit are two benches at the site’s southern corner, both of which have seating dividers to prevent rough sleepers. Poor people it seems shouldn’t be allowed to rest when in the presence of a $1.7 billion building. And that’s the project’s biggest issue: money. “Some people say the reason it took almost a decade to build this is because we had a billionaire who wanted to be an architect working with an architect who wanted to be a billionaire,” said former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg at his building’s unveiling. Norman Foster is the U.K.’s wealthiest architect. This year, partners at his firm shared $30.4 million between them, a 43 percent increase on last year despite a downturn in profits and turnover with the company having to lose staff in the process. As critic Oliver Wainwright noted in a tweet, Foster's 'non-resident in the UK for tax purposes' status prevented him from even picking up the award in person. What does all this say about architects and the profession? That to design a good building you must find a client with apparently limitless pockets? That as an architect it is more important to be obscenely wealthy over everything else? Bloomberg’s London HQ is a far cry from last year’s winner, dRMM’s Hastings Pier, which exemplified civic architecture at its best. That delightful scheme made extensive use of timber salvaged from a fire that burned down the previous pier. It was truly a community project. dRMM held close consultations with the public and the charity funding it, and the pier was built for the public of Hastings (and those visiting, of course).   There were far better examples of architecture on this year’s Stirling Prize shortlist too. Take Waugh Thistleton Architects’ Bushey Cemetery for example. Using walls of rammed earth sourced from the site it rests on, the project demonstrates genuine material innovation and manages to convey a sense of weight and be delicate at the same time. Bloomberg, meanwhile, shipped in 600 tons of bronze from Japan and granite from India, and despite the similar earthy tones, feels dauntingly heavy. An example of working wonders when on a budget was also shortlisted: Storey's Field Centre and Eddington Nursery in Cambridge by MUMA. Like Hastings Pier, this was a celebration of civic architecture, with a community center and kindergarten surrounding a landscaped courtyard. “By building at a lower height than approved at planning…Bloomberg shows a high level of generosity towards the City,” the judges commented. In light of this, Jamie Fobert Architects’ Tate St Ives was arguably more adept at concealing space. Buried underground, yet still allowing bucket loads of light in, the museum has somehow doubled in size. It’s a remarkable piece of architectural contortion that keeps locals and the museum happy. Another shortlisted project, Níall McLaughlin Architects’ Sultan Nazrin Shah Centre for the University of Oxford, like the two aforementioned projects, articulated light in spectacular fashion. The project provided a lecture theater, a student learning space, seminar rooms, and a dance studio of immense quality and leads by example the quality of spaces students deserve. London studio Henley Halebrown’s Chadwick Hall student accommodation for the University of Roehampton, the final project on the list, did the same. A win for the project could have sent a message about what the standard of student housing in the U.K. should be. The majority of current student housing stock is dire. With space standards for student housing thrown out of the window due to it being temporary accommodation, the area has become a safe bet for investors looking to cram as many units in for a guaranteed profit. A message, in fact, was sent, coming in explicit form from RIBA President Ben Derbyshire. “This building is a profound expression of confidence in British architecture—and perfectly illustrates why the U.K. is the profession’s global capital,” he said in a statement. “This role and reputation must be maintained, despite the political uncertainty of Brexit.” This, however, feels like a lazy excuse to award a project the Stirling Prize. Defaulting to listing “Brexit” as a reason should not be in the criteria. Neither should sustainability, a high standard of which should be a baseline for all shortlisted projects. Let BREEAM (the U.K. equivalent of LEED) deal with recognizing that. The RIBA Stirling Prize doesn’t have to send any message, though. It just has to recognize the best building, and this it has not done.
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RIBA unveils shortlist for 2017 Stirling Prize

The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) announced its shortlist for this year’s best new building. From a photography studio to the British Museum’s latest addition, six buildings will be pitted against one another in their race to claim the top spot of RIBA’s 2017 Stirling Prize.

In its 22nd year, the prize is considered to be Britain’s most prestigious architecture award. The jury considers a range of criteria, including design vision, originality, capacity to stimulate, engagement with occupants and visitors, accessibility, sustainability, and the level of client satisfaction.

“This year’s shortlist typifies everything that is special about U.K. architecture: this is not just a collection of exceptionally well-designed buildings but spaces and places of pure beauty, surprise, and delight,” RIBA President Jane Duncan said in a press release.

The winner will be announced on October 31, 2017.

British Museum World Conservation and Exhibitions Centre Architect: Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners Structural Engineers: Ramboll M&E Engineers: Arup Acoustic Engineers: Arup Landscape Architects: Gillespies Lighting Design: Arup

Previous winners Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners (for Maggie’s Centre London in 2009 and Madrid's Barajas Airport in 2006) will be looking for their third win with their subterranean extension of the British institution, which includes conservation studios and a column-free exhibition hall that's almost 12,000 square feet in size.

City of Glasgow College - City Campus Architect: Reiach & Hall Architects and Michael Laird Architects Structural Engineer: Arup Landscape Architectrank: infraser landscape architecture M&E Engineer: FES with Hulley and Kirkwood Acoustics: ARUP Acoustics Interiors Graven Signage: Studio LR

Reiach & Hall Architects and Michael Laird Architects were shortlisted last year for the City of Glasgow College’s Riverside Campus. This year, their latest addition to the university is in the spotlight for both its immense scale and its restraint in material and form.

Hastings Pier Architect: dRMM Architects Structural Engineer: Ramboll UK Environmental / M&E Engineer: Ramboll UK Marine Engineers: Ramboll UK

Hasting’s newest seaside pier by firm dRMM Architects (who have been shortlisted twice before) is a revitalization success story of a decrepit pier turned into a vibrant public space through collaboration between community, engineers, and architects.

Command of the Oceans Architect: Baynes and Mitchell Architects M&E Engineer: Skelly & Couch Experiential Designer: Land Design Studio Structural & Civil Engineers: Price & Myers Lighting Design Studio: ZNA

Command of the Oceans is a redevelopment of the Chatham Historic Dockyard in Chatham, England. The transformation of a group of shipbuilding sheds into a new visitor attraction is bound together by a new, striking visitor hall entrance.

Barrett’s Grove Architect: Groupwork + Amin Taha Structural Engineers: Webb Yates Engineers M&E Engineers: Syntegra

A residential project, Barrett’s Grove features six apartments with wicker basket balconies that jut out onto the street. The building is built with timber and wrapped in perforated brick.

Photography Studio for Juergen Teller Architect: 6a architects Landscape Architects: Dan Pearson Studio Structural Engineers: Price & Myers M&E Engineers: Max Fordham LLP

The smallest project out of them all is by 6a architects, who exploited the narrow plot of land to create a sequence of three volumes for a flexible workspace. Light is brought in with interspersed courtyard gardens.

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Damien Hirst’s Newport Street Gallery wins this year’s RIBA Stirling Prize

London-based studio Caruso St. John Architects has been named as the 2016 RIBA Stirling Prize winners. The firm claimed the UK’s most coveted architecture award for their Newport Street Gallery in Vauxhall, south London. In doing so they saw off competition from Swiss firm Herzog and de Meuron for their Blavatnik School of Government building at Oxford University, among four others. Established in 1990, Caruso St John was formed by Adam Caruso and Peter St John in London. This is the first time the studio has won the RIBA Stirling Prize, despite being shortlisted twice before: A decade ago for their Brick House in west London and in 2000, for the New Art Gallery in Walsall, near Birmingham. Their design for the Newport Street Gallery was a conversion project that saw the conversion of three listed industrial Victorian buildings located on the banks of a nearby railway line. The buildings were once carpentry and scenery painting workshops for West End theatres. Now, however, two new buildings—both brick structures emulating their counterparts—have been erected either side together are part of a free public gallery for the esteemed British artist Damien Hirst. One of the new builds features a serrated rooftop, allowing the gallery to be distinguishable among the mid-rise south London skyline to those passing by by rail. Other notable additions include large LED panels, also found on the railway line side. Inside, one can find the interior spaces linked across the five buildings by continuous passageways. Spiral staircases, worth walking to for their elegant design, are located at either end. This arrangement facilitates the creation of a diverse range of spaces with small-scale individual works and larger shows able to be housed within the gallery. Before RIBA unveiled Caruso St. John as the winners, members of the public were also given the chance to vote for their favorite from the shortlist of six. In this unofficial competition, Loyn & Co's Outhouse (located in Forest of Dean near the border of England and Wales) won. The RIBA judges, however, had other ideas. These were their comments in a press release:
This highly accomplished and expertly detailed art gallery is a bold and confident contribution to the best of UK architecture. Caruso St John’s approach to conservation is irreverent yet sensitive and achieves a clever solution that expresses a poetic juxtaposition of old and new. The collection of buildings is beautifully curated, pulled together by the use of brick yet still expressive of their individuality. The playful use of LED technology gives a contemporary addition to the façade.  Internally, the five buildings are connected as a continuous and coherent sequence of light filled gallery spaces. The simple and logical circulation is enlivened by exquisitely detailed and sensuous staircases.
The building's program was also cause for comment, with the free gallery being praised as a "generous asset to an evolving community." Meanwhile, Peter St John, a partner at the winning firm said at the awards ceremony:
It's rare for architects to be given the opportunity to realise a personal vision of the quality of the Newport Street Gallery, and for that vision to have a generous public dimension. We see the building as a palace for direct, intimate and luxurious encounters with contemporary art, and we are very pleased that this award will bring more people to see this extraordinary collection.
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RIBA unveils the 2016 Stirling Prize shortlist

The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) has announced this years Stirling Prize shortlist. Comprising six builds from six firms, the winners will be crowned on October 6 this year for what is Britain's most prestigious architecture award. Up for nomination are London firm Wilkinson Eyre who could potentially win their third Stirling Prize, something which is yet to be achieved. Their project, a conversion of Oxford University’s Grade 1 listed Weston Library joins Swiss firm Herzog and de Meuron's for the university, the Blavatnik School of Government. Making up three projects in the education sector (half of the shortlist), is the City of Glasgow College riverside campus from Michael Laird Architects and Reiach & Hall. The sector appears to be a good source of architectural prowess as last year, Burntwood School in South London by AHMM won the award. London practice dRMM and and Cardiff-based studio Loyn & Co received recognition two residential projects: Trafalgar Place, a complex part of the Elephant & Castle redevelopment in South London, and Inside Outside House, a dwelling in the Forest of Dean, Southeast Wales. Loyn & Co's private residency is the first to make the shortlist in 15 years and is also in the running for RIBA's House of the Year Award. The final addition to the list, but by no means the least worthy, is another London firm, Caruso St. John who make their second appearance on the shortlist. This time they're up for nomination courtesy of their brick-heavy facade Newport Street Gallery in Vauxhall, London for British artist Damien Hirst which features an elegant wooden spiral staircase. Judging this years entries will be Patrik Schumacher of ZHA; Paul Monaghan of last year's winning firm AHMM; Roisin Heneghan of Heneghan and Peng; Michael Hussey, Fellow of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors; and Rachel Whiteread, a renowned British sculptor who won the Turner Prize in 1993.
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Burntwood School by AHMM wins 2015 RIBA Stirling Prize

Burntwood School, a girls high school in Wandsworth, south London, has won the UK's most coveted architecture award—RIBA's Stirling Prize—with judges describing it as the "clear winner." The project by Allford Hall Monaghan Morris (AHMM) also collected the RIBA London 2015 award in the process. The concrete structure maybe a '50s throwback of sorts, but AHMM's school is by no means a concrete relic of the bygone era. In awarding the project the 2015 Stirling Prize, RIBA, which is seldom accused of playing politics, has also sent a strong message in the importance public education. The building was close to not being built as it was one of the last schools to be constructed under Tony Blair's "Building Schools for the Future scheme"—a policy ditched by current Prime Minister David Cameron in 2010. Education secretary at the time, Michael Gove, granted permission for the proposal even though the scheme had come to an end. RIBA President Jane Duncan spoke to the BBC about the school, noting how it "shows us how superb school design can be at the heart of raising our children's educational enjoyment and achievement." "Delightful, resourceful, and energy efficient buildings that will benefit the whole community in the long term," she continued. "With the UK facing a huge shortage of school places, it is vital we learn lessons from Burntwood." Judges continued that praise, describing AHMM's work as the "most accomplished of the six shortlisted buildings" and showed "the full range of the skills that architects can offer to society."  They went on to add: "Burntwood sets a standard in school design that every child in Britain deserves... It is a culmination of many years of creative toil by Allford Hall Monaghan Morris in designing schools up and down the country. This is their masterpiece." Burntwood fought off competition from five other builds, three of which were also from London. Those included project by Richard Rogers, Niall Mcloughlin Architects, Reiach & Hall Architects, MUMA, and Heneghan Peng Architects. With the price tag just north of $63 million, Wandsworth Borough Council's investment appears to have made architectural dividends as members of the awarding jury showered the building in compliments. AHMM Director Paul Monaghan said schools should be "more than just practical, functional buildings," and good design "makes a difference to the way students value themselves and their education." "Staff and students have said on many occasions that the new buildings have greatly improved the quality of their day-to-day experiences at the school and students comment that their commitment to learning has been enhanced," Burntwood School Principal Helen Dorfman commented. The awarding jury consisted of Peter Clegg, senior partner at Field Clegg Bradley Studios; Rory Olcayto, editor at The Architects' Journal; Dame Theresa Sackler of DBE; Steve Tompkins, director of Haworth Tompkins and 2014 Stirling Prize Winner; and Jane Duncan, director  of Jane Duncan Architects, RIBA president and chair.  
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British architects are now deciding which one of these six finalists is the worst building of the year

Six of the worst buildings in Britain, shortlisted by British magazine Building Design, will battle it out to claim British architecture's least wanted trophy. The projects were chosen by a panel comprising BD editor Thomas Lane; architectural critic Ike Ijeh; writer, broadcaster, and historian Gillian Darley; and architectural designer Eleanor Jolliffe. The list was whittled from ten projects put forward by readers who felt compelled enough to voice their distaste about the structures that rudely entered their view. The Carbuncle Cup is in its ninth successive year and is proving to be a humorous, tongue-in-cheek response to the Stirling Prize awarded by RIBA. Pedigree, it seems, won't save you from being shortlisted for the prize. Foster+Partners and Rogers Stirk Harbour+Partners have previously made the list for their Moor House office development and One Hyde Park projects in London. Past winners include the Strata SE1 building in south London by BFLS and the Cutty Sark renovation in Greenwich by Grimshaw Architects. Last year, Sheppard Robson's Woolwich Central took the prize. The winner of the Carbuncle Cup will be announced next Wednesday, September 9. Take a look at this year's finalists below. 20 Fenchurch Sreet (aka The Walkie-Talkie Tower) London Rafael Viñoly Architects Woodward Hall North Acton, London Careyjones Chapmantolcher Whittle Building Peterhouse, University of Cambridge John Simpson Architects Waltham Forest YMCA London Robert Kilgour Architects City Gateway Swaythling, Southampton Fluid Design Parliament House Lambeth, London Keith Williams Architects
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Restored ruins of Astley Castle Win UK’s prestigious 2013 RIBA Stirling Prize

A few years ago, 12th-century-built Astley Castle was no more than a fire-ravaged, crumbling medieval structure in the English countryside. Now, since its clever restoration by Witherford Watson Mann Architects in 2012, the Landmark Trust-sponsored residence in Warwickshire has been deemed “building of the year” as the winner of the most prestigious architectural prize in the United Kingdom, the Royal Institute of British Architects’ 2013 Stirling Prize. With its fortified ruins artfully incorporated into contemporary construction as a luxury vacation home, RIBA President Stephen Hodder praised the Astley Castle restoration as “an exceptional example of how modern architecture can revive an ancient monument.” However, this year RIBA was unable to secure a sponsor to provide the £20,000 given to winners of the past, BD Online reported. This is the first year that the Stirling Prize comes with no cash value. After a 1978 fire ravaged the already crumbling 12th century Astley Castle in Warwickshire, England, the Landmark Trust in the United Kingdom was not willing to give up on its preservation. In 2007, the charity organization held an architectural competition for a reimagining of the medieval structure and awarded Witherford Watson Mann Architects the project. The architecture firm restored the most ancient parts of the ruins and reinvented the structure as a luxury vacation residence, strengthening the old structure with new stone and timber and repurposing its rooms as modern quarters. At the trophy presentation ceremony in London on September 26, Hodder gave Witherford Watson Mann Architects their first Stirling Prize win, commending their design and explaining RIBA's decision thus:
“[Astley Castle] is significant because rather than a conventional restoration project, the architects have designed an incredibly powerful contemporary house which is expertly and intricately intertwined with 800 years of history. Every detail has been carefully considered, from a specific brick pattern to the exact angle of a view, resulting in a sensually rich experience for all who visit. This beautiful new building is a real labor of love. It was realized in true collaboration between a visionary client, designer and contractors.”
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Six Firms Competing for 2012 Stirling Prize

The shortlist for the coveted annual Stirling Prize from the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) has been announced! With six contesting projects to choose from, judges will begin visiting all six sites and will convene for a final vote on October 13, 2012. Among the six shortlisted projects are Maggie’s Cancer Centre and New Court Rothschild Bank, both by the OMA, London's new Olympic Stadium by Populous, and David Chipperfield’s Wakefield, the Barbara Hepworth sculpture gallery in Yorkshire. Founded in 1966, The RIBA Stirling Prize is given annually to a building and its practice, honoring the project as the “greatest contribution to British architecture in the past year.” Unlike the Pritzker Prize which acknowledges an architect for lifetime achievement, the Stirling honors a practice for one building per year, allowing projects to gain more recognition as they’re built. Along with a £20,000 prize, the Stirling also comes with front page news coverage and television promotions on channels like the BBC 2, giving architecture the fame and exposure that it rarely gets in society today. Regarding the shortlisted projects, RIBA President Angela Brady expressed her ambivalence, as all the projects are on par with each other on levels of success and aesthetics. “All of the shortlisted buildings demonstrate the essence of great architecture; they are human-scale buildings, places to inspire, entertain, educate and comfort their visitors and passers-by," she said in a statement. "Every building not only works beautifully from within but has a superb relationship with its surroundings, with a strong interplay between the two. They don’t shout ‘look at me’ and even the tallest building, New Court in the City of London, has created good views for passing pedestrians, meeting the challenge of delivering good urban design in an historic area.” Take a look at the rest of the contesting projects: