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Alsop shuns Stirling Prize


A group of architects from the Architectural Association have won a RIBA-supported international competition to design - and actually build - a new library for the city of Seinajoki in Finland. The scheme (above) by Pablo Lazo, Marila Perez-Pantin, Marcelo Espinosa with Susana Gonzalez and Francisco van Kesteren promises 'an exciting idea of building as landscape', according to the judges, who included Daniel Libeskind. The judges also commended the energy and dynamism of the project, which will be built next to the Alvar Aalto Civic Centre to celebrate the centenary of Aalto's birth.

Will Alsop has withdrawn his acclaimed North Greenwich Jubilee Line station scheme from contention for the riba's prestigious Stirling Prize because some of the credit would have gone to his former partner John Lyall if it won.

Alsop told Awards chairman Michael Manser he did not want the building to be considered - even though it passed the first hurdle by winning a riba regional award this week - because the £110 million station was accredited to Alsop Lyall & Stormer. The practice won the commission in 1990, and Lyall left in August 1991 when the scheme was only at tender drawings stage.

'My former partner didn't have anything to do with it' stormed Alsop this week. 'I took on full financial responsibility for it. If anything had gone wrong and we had been sued you wouldn't have seen him for dust. He can't have it both ways.'

The building would have been a hot contender for the £20,000 Stirling prize, to be announced at the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum in Glasgow in November.

In the regional award citation for North Greenwich, judges praised the 'striking, boldly declared' building as 'one of the most efficient, free- spirited and poetic stations on the line.'

'I'm a bit gobsmacked' said Lyall. He called the row 'very sad' and 'a bit petty', claiming that he had worked on the project for two years and stressing that the project was the most important thing - not the individuals. 'I don't know what he's trying to do' he said. 'Is it a cry for help?' Lyall added that he did not know if Alsop had the authority to withdraw, and that he may now talk to the riba about the affair. He stressed that the accreditation was Alsop Lyall & Stormer as agreed with the London Underground client, Roland Paoletti.

Alsop added that instead of potentially sharing the award with Lyall, he would rather go for the award next year with a different building - perhaps the Peckham Library - in order to win in his own right. He was content that North Greenwich, which had 'his mark all over it' had been well received and he branded Lyall 'very silly' to claim joint authorship. He said that he had considered donating the £20,000 prize money if he won to pay for a painting to be hung at the station.

Stirling Prize awards chairman Michael Manser, who heard of Alsop's decision on Tuesday morning said: 'Of course it's sad. But if someone wants to withdraw it's entirely their affair.'

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