Design Council chooses best of British architecture
An automatic public toilet by Adshel, a series of cd-roms of aerial photographs and high voltage electricity pylons have all made it onto the latest list of architectural products commended this week by prime minister Tony Blair and the Design Council.
The works are part of a list of 235 products that were unveiled at Skyscape, next to the Millennium Dome, in an effort to promote Britain as a creative nation.
Architects' products had only 16 mentions, bringing the number from this sector to 46 out of a total of 1012 since the Millennium Product initiative was launched in 1997.
But the scheme has been backed by architects who have praised its interdisciplinary approach to design and the fact that it praises the product rather than the designer.
'I don't think architects should be heroes - it's the job that's important, not my job,' said Ian Ritchie, whose practice won a commendation for its very high voltage electricity pylons for Electricite de France (see page 3).
The decisins were made by a panel of 100 judges drawn from different disciplines and were based on key criteria including displaying environmental responsibility, challenging existing conventions and using new technologies.
The riba praised the selectors' decision to focus on projects that take sustainability as a key element in their design. It was also pleased that the Design Council commended projects that had already received riba awards in the last two years - a trend which it said displayed continuity.
'The Hulme Arch bridge, the River Irthing footbridge and the Abbey Mills Pumping Station have already received awards from us and there are others on the list such as the Peabody housing at Murray Grove in Hackney and the New Peckham library which are likely to get awards next year,' said Tony Chapman, spokesman for the riba.
Around 40 different architectural proposals were made to the Design Council for the Millennium Products list.
Winners included: Wilkinson Eyre's Hulme Arch Bridge, Manchester; Michael Hopkins and Partners' Inland Revenue Building, Nottingham; Chetwood Associates' Sainsbury's store at Greenwich, London; the Lockmeadow Footbridge in Maidstone by Wilkinson Eyre; the New Peckham Library and Media Centre by Alsop & Stormer; the Scottish Exhibition and Conference Centre in Glasgow by Foster and Partners and the Yapi Kredi Bank Operations Centre in Gebze, Turkey, by John McAslan & Partners.