Manchester City Council
RIBA Client of the Year Award in association with Arts Council England
The judges said: 'Manchester City Council has been an exemplary client and enabler of good architecture, both directly and indirectly, for the last decade. As a result of what its chief executive Howard Bernstein has described as 'positive discrimination in favour of quality outcomes', the city has transformed its architectural and public realm identity through a series of projects including the Commonwealth Stadium (now home to Manchester City FC), the expanded City Art Gallery, Urbis, the upgraded Piccadilly Station, and public realm programmes including Piccadilly Gardens and the Castlefield area. The response to the bombing of the city centre has been to embrace good-quality design by both local and national architects, a policy that is now extending to the renewal of post-industrial regeneration sites in east Manchester.
'The city council has provided an inspiring example of civic leadership that echoes the spirit in which the city fathers created the great architectural landmarks from the 19th century, and is a more than worthy winner of this year's award.
'This year alone the City Art Gallery, Urbis and Piccadilly Station (for Network Rail) have won RIBA Awards. In previous years as client, it has won RIBA Awards with Manchester International Convention Centre (2002), Bridgewater Hall and Hulme Arch Bridge (both 1998); doubtless there will be more in the future. It has also helped facilitate many more RIBA Award winners: post-bomb schemes such as Marks & Spencer and the Corporation Street Footbridge for Prudential (both 2000), and numerous housing schemes for Urban Splash, Crosby Homes, the Irwell Valley Housing Association and the Guinness Trust.'
OTHER SHORTLISTED ENTRIES lGateshead l The University of Cambridge l Peabody Trust l Laban Dance Centre in London