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RIAS denies Doolan award to end

The RIAS has attempted to quash concerns that its annual £25,000 Award for Architecture - the biggest prize for architecture in the UK - is under threat following the death of its bankroller.

Architect and developer Andrew Doolan had been the driving force behind the award before his death earlier this year (AJ 6.5.04).

However, without the millionaire's much-needed financial support, it was feared the RIAS would be unable to continue running the competition, which offers a higher reward than even the Stirling Prize.

But just days before the announcement of this year's winner, the institute has insisted that there is no chance the award will be dropped.

John Pelan, a spokesman for the RIAS, said: 'The award's future is secured and I'm sure it will go from strength to strength. You only have to look at the buildings that will be considered for next year's award, such as the Scottish Parliament.' However, the exact funding options for future awards remain a mystery and there are rumours that the Scottish Executive may be forced to step in.

'Doolan's commitment was only for three years and we always planned to continue. His death came as a complete surprise and we would like to carry on, if nothing else for his memory, ' Pelan added.

Four buildings have been shortlisted for the RIAS Award 2004: the Eastgate Theatre and Arts Centre, Peebles, by Richard Murphy Architects; the St Aloysius College Clavius Building, Glasgow, by Elder and Cannon; Maggie's Cancer Caring Respite Centre, Dundee, by Gehry & Partners; and the Lotte Glob House, Durness, by Gökay Deveci.

This year's judges include RIAS president Gordon Murray and Professor Andy MacMillan of the Mackintosh School of Architecture. The winner will be announced at a ceremony at the Doolan-designed Point Conference Centre, Edinburgh, later today (28 October).

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