Announcing the winners of this year’s Royal Academy Summer Exhibition
The judges were impressed by the models, which show how FCB’s proposed Southbank glass box extension responds to changing light, writes Christine Murray
It gives me great pleasure to announce the winners of the Lend Lease/Architects’ Journal awards for the architecture room at the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition, judged by Eva Jiřičná, Paul Finch and Lend Lease’s project director, Matt Beasley, and chaired by me.
The winner of the Grand Award for Architecture, worth £10,000, is Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios for its concept models for Festival Wing, Southbank Centre (model by Ken Grix). The judges were impressed by the simplicity and effectiveness of this series of models, which show clarity in the development of the proposed facade of the controversial glass box extension in how it responds to changing light and atmospheric conditions. The jury also wished to commend Spencer de Grey for his joyful development models of Foster’s proposed Einstein Museum in Jerusalem, and Birds Portchmouth Russum Architects for its model and drawings for Brewester House, Highgate (wood model by Pipers and plastic model by John Cook).
The winner of the £5,000 First Time Exhibitor prize is Heatherwick Studio for its two exhibits, Teesside Power Station and Masdar Mosque. The judges were charmed by the two different approaches to design taken by the projects, one hidden in the earth, the other cleverly deployed to conceal and improve the appearance of a power station. The jury also wished to commend Mina Gospavic for the elegant four framed pieces entitled Berlin Artspark. Congratulations to the winners and commended, and to Eva Jiřičná for her curation of this year’s excellent exhibition.
The chancellor’s disappearing billions
The good news is that George Osborne’s PFI replacement scheme, uninspiringly named PF2, has failed to attract private investors. The new private finance model, which was designed to attract pension funds with its more stable equity finance model, has not proved attractive, meaning current flagship government projects will be topped up with public money.
The bad news is that, according to a story in The Guardian this week, this means the £3 billion infrastructure spending, announced with fanfare by Osborne in his budget speech, will be spent plugging holes left by a lack of private investment. Existing projects that have failed under PF2 to win private funding include a £1 billion shortfall in the Priority School Programme, a £1 billion gap in the Ministry of Defence soldier accommodation programme and an additional £1 billion gap in Crossrail.
I don’t know many architects who would mourn the death of PFI - a procurement model notorious for its waste and bureaucracy. But this news means Osborne’s fêted £3 billion will be spent delivering existing projects, not on new infrastructure, and not in a bid to actually stimulate growth. Osborne is barely treading water.
But, while it’s bad news to have less money to spend on infrastructure investment - and this does require urgent stimulus - it is a nice change to have public projects actually publicly funded again. Let’s make sure these schools are a resounding success, lest the spectres of BSF and PFI rise again.