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Design excellence adds another chapter

Talent present and future was rewarded and encouraged with the ninth American Institute of Architecture Excellence in Design Awards announced last week A hotel in Prague, an office scheme in central London, a visitor centre and a theatre production centre have been named the best completed projects of the past year by the American Institute of Architects' London chapter.

The chapter's Excellence in Design Awards, now in their ninth year, were announced at a reception in London last Thursday.

Edward Cullinan Architects took a gong for its Downland Gridshell, one of last year's Stirling shortlisted schemes. Eva Jiricna Architects was also a winner with its Hotel Josef in Prague, along with Eric Parry Architects for 30 Finsbury Square, London, and Ian Ritchie Architects for the Theatre Royal Production Centre in Plymouth.

The awards are open to projects in the UK and abroad by Britishbased architects, and to projects in the UK by architects from around the world. Previous winners include Zaha Hadid, Rick Mather Architects, David Chippperfield Architects, Grimshaw and Foster and Partners.

Future talent was also recognised this year in the form of a student travel awards programme. Four students - Achim Menges, Elena Zabeli, Mariano Ciccone and Kenny Tsui - won travel sponsorships totalling £2,000 designed to foster relations between the student communities in the UK and the US.

The judging jury was made up of: Zaha Hadid; Rafael Viñoly;

Wilkinson Eyre's Jim Eyre; deputy chair of CABE Paul Finch; KPF principal Kevin Flannagan; Mark Kelly from Woods Bagot, organising sponsor of the event; and Doug Street, principal at Swanke Hayden Connell.

WINNERS

Eva Jiricna Hotel Josef, Prague (right)

Ian Ritchie Theatre Royal production centre, Plymouth (below left)

Eric Parry 30 Finsbury Square, London (below right)

Edward Cullinan Downland Gridshell workshop, near Chichester (below centre)

COMMENDATIONS

John McAslan + Partners Royal Academy of Music, London

Nicholas Hare Chafford Hundred learning practice

Ian Simpson Urbis, Manchester Studio Bednarski Kent Messenger Millennium Bridge

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