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Beijing 'bird's nest' stadium wins coveted Lubetkin Prize

Herzog and de Meuron’s ‘bird’s nest’ National Stadium in Beijing has been named the best building outside Europe by the RIBA

The centrepiece of the 2008 Olympic Games won the institute’s prestigious Lubetkin Prize – the international award, supported by The Architectural Review, given to the ‘most outstanding work of architecture’ outside the European Union by an RIBA member.

Designed in collaboration with ArupSport and the Chinese Architectural Design and Research Group, the £217 million stadium beat O’Donnell and Tuomey Architects’ Sean O’Casey Community Centre, in Dublin, the British High Commission, Colombo by Richard Murphy Architects, the Museum Brandhorst, Munich by Sauerbuch Hutton, Foster and Partner’s Beijing Capital International Airport Terminal and the Beijing Watercube, National Swimming Centre in by PTW Architects (click here to see all the finalists).

Lubetkin Prize judge and RIBA President, Sunand Prasad said: ‘This year’s shortlist for the Lubetkin Prize was easily the best we have seen, and although the discussion was intense, the result was clear.

‘The National Stadium in Beijing will for a long time to come, and around the world, remain amongst the most memorable emblems of 2008 and of the resurgence of China as a global power. For a single work of architecture to hold such a charge is extremely rare, and at the same time to flawlessly accommodate a very complex set of functions makes the feat still more extraordinary.’

The prize, which is sponsored by UK Trade & Investment, is named after pioneering modernist Berthold Lubetkin (1901-1990). Lubetkin’s daughter Sasha presented the winning architects with a cast bronze plaque at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Whitehall last night (14 July), based loosely on her father’s design for the Penguin Pool at London Zoo.

Running since 2006, previous winners of the prize are: Noero Wolffe’s Red Location Museum of the People’s Struggle in New Brighton, Eastern Cape Province, South Africa; Grimshaw Architects’ Southern Cross Station in Melbourne, Australia (2007); and Gianni Botsford Architects’s Casa Kike, a one-off house in Cahuita, Costa Rica (2008)


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