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Stirling Prize 2010: reaction on the night

The AJ talked to the good and the great about Zaha Hadid’s first ever Stirling Prize victory on Saturday night (2 October)

Alain de Botton, philosopher and developer
‘[It’s] a very good example of Zaha Hadid’s ambition and what she’s been trying to do for many years. [As for second place] Christ’s College school, Guildford.
It’s a beautifully design school and it’s desperately important at this moment politically that people know that school architecture needs good architects and I think the Stirling is about raising public debate, it is tokenistic in the best sense and we need that. I would like to see a really well designed supermarket [on next year’s shortlist].

Patrick Theis of Stirling Prize-shortlisted practice Theis + Khan Architects
‘For us even to be on the shortlisted was unthinkable - we were amazed. We never really thought we had a chance.
I’m very happy for Zaha. I thought the Neues was more deserving with its attention to detail and quality. Zaha’s building was braver, more outrageous and baroque but not resolved as well as Chipperfield’s museum.’

Tom Bloxham founder of property development company Urban Splash
‘I have not been to the building but Maxxi looks fantastic and it is great to see Zaha win…. in a very yellow dress.’

Jack Pringle, former RIBA president and partner at Pringle Brandon
‘I’m absolutely delighted that Zaha’s won. It’s about time she won, she’s had two schemes here before, [and] this one’s definitely the best – it looks terrific.  I think it was the stand-out scheme of this year. I’ve seen the Ashmolean and it’s incredibly clever, a brilliant piece of refurbishment, but if I had a second place I’d give it to the new school by DSDHA.

Ruth Reed, current RIBA president
MAXXI is an extraordinary building. It takes Rome into the future. This is a phenomenal statement about the future and it’s such an extraordinary sculptural experience as well.‘ 

Hal Currey of Arup Associates
‘Everyone knew Zaha had won when they heard she was here. I wanted Theis and Khan - they were doing everything - being the client, developer and architect and they made it happen. It is a great piece of design. I’ve been there and it is brilliant.’

Russell Brown of Hawkins\Brown
‘It is the first time a woman, on her own, has won the prize and that is long overdue - in fact four out of the six shortlisted practices had woman in them. I just wish Zaha would build more here. Having said that I thought Chipperfield would have won, bit seemed a much more complicated project.’

Frank McCloskey, director of the RSUA
‘It was the best shortlist for years. Chipperfield’s modern intervention was such an ingenious piece of work and was a very strong contender. But my gut feeling was that it was Zaha’s year. I wondered whether the inclusion of the schools was about making some sort of political statement. It is right that the winner of the Stirling Prize should be a very special building.’

Alan Dunlop of Alan Dunlop Architect
‘I’m actually a bit disappointed, it’s an overwhelming mood towards appreciation of Hadid’s work but to me the Neues Museum is the best piece of architecture that I’ve been in in 25 years and I think it is a stunning piece of work. I’m happy though that the schools were involved in the shortlist and I’d like to see more ordinary projects among the finalists.’

John Assael of Assael Architecture
‘!I’m so delighted she won, the schools and the Theis + Khan schemes were fabulous projects but not in the same league as the trio of museums. Of the three museums, two were conversions and one was a new building [the Maxxi]. That’s much more challenging and I was backing Zaha all the way through and I’m so delighted she won. I would have wanted Rick Mather to come second and Chipperfield to be third. I just like to see quality architecture really, we’ve had three museums and two schools maybe we should have a selection of mixed-use schemes rather than those more precious schemes.’

Kevin McCloud, television presenter
‘What excites me about Zaha’s work is the legibility of it and the popularity of it. She populates the world with her buildings and people love them. To an extent the mythology of Zaha is certainly a distraction from the fact that her work is immensely appealing and some of her projects I’ve visited over the years I’ve found to be disappointing the closer you get to them. Some of them do that thing of not delivering a great and more enriched experience when you get up to them - but this building does. It delivers an extraordinary series of contiguous experiences which are created through an extraordinarily clever but legible layout based on human movement, MAXXI in that respect is one of her greatest buildings.’

Mark Brearley, director of Design for London
It’s a very stylish bit of design. [As for second place] they all should have come second, I would have loved to of seen a school win. The school in Guildford was an amazing scheme.
‘It’s very good that the public buildings and buildings that engage in the city are coming on strong.’

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