A £16,000 ferry terminal in the Inner Hebrides and a £26 million office development in central London are among the six buildings to have made it onto the shortlist for the 2003 Stirling Prize. Unveiled for the first time in this week's AJ, the six candidates, including Foster and Partners' Great Court and Bill Dunster's BedZED, will battle it out for the honour of succeeding Wilkinson Eyre's Millennium Bridge in Gateshead, which landed the £20,000 prize last year.
Perhaps the biggest shock this year is the inclusion of Sutherland Hussey's Tiree Ferry Terminal, developed with artists Jake Harvey, Donald Urquhart, Glen Onwin and Sandra Kennedy. By far the cheapest scheme on the list, it is also the smallest project ever to have made it this far in the competition.
However, it has already picked up plaudits, winning the Royal Scottish Academy Gold Medal for Architecture; and making it on to the shortlist for both the RIAS Building of the Year and the RIBA Stephen Lawrence Award.
The practice first came to attention last year when it won the AJ First Building award for its Barnhouse in Highgate.
The hot favourite - whittled down from the 70 RIBA Award winners - is Herzog & de Meuron's Laban Dance Centre in south London. Having missed out on a RIBA award for Tate Modern because it lacked Part 3, the Swiss practice has learnt its lesson and ensured it is now fully qualified.
Bidding to become only the second practice after Wilkinson Eyre to land the prize twice is Foster and Partners, with its British Museum Great Court completed back in 2001. The structure, host to the 2001 awards ceremony, is also expected to be one of the frontrunners. It had been expected to win a place on the 2002 shortlist but, following the 'wrong limestone affair', the practice decided to 'take a break' from the competition.
The other shortlisted contenders are Ian Ritchie Architects' £5.8 million Theatre Royal in Plymouth, Eric Parry Architects' new-build £25 million Finsbury Square office development in London and Bill Dunster's sustainability exemplar BedZED.
As much debate will centre on the omissions as on the successful schemes. Projects that might have hoped to be on the shortlist include Pringle Richard Sharratt's Sheffield Millennium Gardens, Foster and Partners' Millennium Bridge and Long & Kentish's National Maritime Museum in Falmouth.
Once again this year there is sure to be much debate about geographical location.
Having delighted the regional lobby in 2002 by selecting just two schemes in London, there is sure to be frustration that the judges have returned to form by picking just two buildings outside the capital.
The lack of buildings abroad is also surprising. Overseas omissions include David Chipperfield's private house in Galicia and Sauerbruch Hutton's Biological Research Centre in Biberach, Germany. And, of course, one of the best-received buildings of the year, Foreign Office Architects' Yokohama Ferry Terminal, was excluded from consideration because it fell outside EU boundaries.
For in-depth information on all the shortlisted projects and for early news of the winners visit ajplus. co. uk/RIBA2003.
BOOK YOUR PLACE AT ARCHITECTURE'S NIGHT OF THE YEAR
This year's Stirling Prize dinner and awards ceremony will be held on Saturday 11 October at Explore@Bristol, designed by Wilkinson Eyre, and will also include: the AJ First Building Award (sponsored by Robin Ellis Design and Construction); the Stephen Lawrence Prize (sponsored by the Goldschmied Foundation); RIBA Client of the Year; RIBA Journal Sustainability Award;
Crown Estate Conservation Award; and the ADAPT Trust Access Award. The event - organised in association with the AJ - is sponsored by the American Hardwood Export Council, Montagu Evans, Union, SIV and BST Eagle. Tickets cost £120 plus VAT.
Email juliette. runyeard@inst. riba. org
LABAN DANCE CENTRE
This year's hot favourite with the bookies is Herzog & de Meuron's £14.4 million Laban Dance Centre in London's Deptford.
Recognition for the regenerative effect of the centre on the local area and the belief that the practice should have won with Tate Modern, place this candidate in poll position. Set the challenge of creating a 'large theatre at the centre and a series of rehearsal spaces', the project achieves, according to the judges, the status of a 'superb arts complex. Laban will do for dance what Tate Modern has done for art.
There is a creative buzz about the place from the moment you step inside the translucent polychromatic polycarbonate screen.'
LATEST ODDS 2/1
ELIZABETH II GREAT COURT
The £100 million Elizabeth II Great Court at the British Museum was completed in 2001 and considered a serious contender for the prize last year. However, the practice chose to delay its submission of the scheme in 2002 after it was tainted with controversy for its use of the wrong type of stone. Although hugely popular and hailed by many as a success, the project's age and the limestone debacle may count against it. The judges, however, were impressed by the scheme - which encloses the museum's courtyard - hailing it 'a wonderful piece of unifying architecture, a great example of circulation masterplanning', and praising its 'beautifully detailed glass roof '.
LATEST ODDS 3/1
BEDZED Bill Dunster's £15 million BedZED development in Surrey is joint second favourite.Constantly referred to as an ecological exemplar, the zero-carbon emissions design marries the latest in sustainable technology with high architectural standards and has caught the public's imagination. The only factor that may count against Dunster's '21st-century take on the English Garden City' is that a residential project has never won the prize.
However, this might be the year. 'Few architectural propositions challenge the way we think about housing design and the way we live. This does, ' the judges said.
LATEST ODDS 3/1
THEATRE ROYAL PRODUCTION CENTRE Ian Ritchie Architects'£5.8 million Plymouth Theatre Royal Production Centre is predominantly a behind-the-scenes facility.
However, it also has aspirations to achieve the 'Guggenheim effect', helping to regenerate a large swathe of the city's poorer areas through a 'striking, bold landmark piece of architecture'. The judges were impressed with Ritchie's aspirations for the project.
'What might have been an anonymous backof-house building has been transformed into a piece of striking marine architecture, ' they said. 'And the building achieves a powerful integration of the functional and social needs of the performing artist.'
LATEST ODDS 4/1
30 FINSBURY SQUARE Once again the judges have shortlisted just one office development - Eric Parry's £26 million scheme at 30 Finsbury Square in London. The brief demanded a marriage between the urban office building and the typical London square. A commercial office scheme has never landed first prize before, and this could work against it. But, on the other hand,2002 could be the year when a privately funded scheme is finally recognised.
The judges described the project as an 'unusually sophisticated office building'.
They added that 'the use of materials and the designs demonstrated innovative commercial architecture'.
LATEST ODDS 5/1
TIREE FERRY TERMINAL SHELTER The rank outsider, Sutherland Hussey's £95,000 Tiree Ferry Terminal Shelter, has already won a series of awards. The project, developed as an art in architecture exercise, was a collaboration with four artists and aims to reflect the qualities of the island - 'the big skies, the white beaches and the monochromatic black houses dotted all over the land' However, the scale of the project, its small cost, and the relative youth of the practice could all work against it.
'Combining art, architecture and landscape is both challenging and highly rewarding, ' the judges said. 'This scheme lives up to the challenge.'
LATEST ODDS 6/1
THE FULL ROLL-CALL OF PREVIOUS STIRLING WINNERS 2002
- Gateshead Millennium Bridge, by Wilkinson Eyre Architects l2001 - Magna Centre, Rotherham, by Wilkinson Eyre Architects l2000 - Peckham Library and Media Centre, by Alsop & Störmer l1999 - NatWest Media Centre, Lord's Cricket Ground, London, by Future Systems l1998 - American Air Force Museum, Duxford, by Foster and Partners l1997 - Staatliche Hochschule fur Musik und Darstellende Kunst, Stuttgart, by James Stirling Michael Wilford & Associates, succeeded by Michael Wilford & Partners l1996 - University of Salford Centenary Building, by Hodder Associates