Future Systems' highly contentious Prague National Library concept has scooped the top prize at the AJ/Bovis Awards.
The surprise decision comes just weeks after the design won the international competition for a new £60 million Czech National Library, triggering allegations that the contest was flawed (AJ 12.3.07)
Jan Kaplicky's National Library was named Best in Show at the Royal Academy's Summer Exhibition by AJ/Bovis Awards' judging panel.
The contest also attracted entries from David Chipperfield, Norman Foster and Tony Fretton.
Commenting on the surprise decision, Paul Finch, Architectural Review editor and one of the AJ/Bovis Awards judges, accepted the Czech National Library was a 'highly controversial design'.
He said: 'Its technical excellence in relation to book storage is as important as its extraordinary visual appearance. We felt that when built it would be a destination for any visitor to Prague. The award also marks the exceptional contribution made to British architecture over many years by Jan Kaplicky and Future Systems.'
Finch added: 'As with Kaplicky's other work, there is a rationale behind the form of the building. This is not an arbitrary icon but a considered work of formal design.'by Clive Walker