The AJ can today reveal the six schemes that have made it on to the shortlist for the RIBA Stirling Prize 2005, in association with the Architects' Journal.
The Brighton Library, by Bennetts Associates with Lomax Cassidy & Edwards, RMJM and Enric Miralles' Scottish Parliament, Zaha Hadid's BMW Central Building in Leipzig, Foster and Partners'
McLaren Technology Centre, O'Donnell + Tuomey's Lewis Glucksman Gallery in Cork and Alsop Designs' Fawood Children's Centre have all made it on to the final list.
The early favourite appears to be the Scottish Parliament building, which has to be one of the highest profile construction projects in living memory.
'Enric Miralles' and RMJM's contentious parliament in Edinburgh
Also in with an exceptional chance of picking up the biggest prize in British architecture is Zaha's almost universally praised BMW building, which has been a winner with almost all British-based critics.
Zaha Hadid's BMW Central Building in Leipzig
Probably the longest odds will go to Bennetts' PFI Brighton Library scheme, which although it ticks many of the right boxes is unlikely to have enough of the 'wow factor' to come out on top.
Bennetts Associates and Lomax Cassidey & Edwards' Brighton Library
Also considered an outsider is Alsop's Fawood nursery scheme in London, which many observers suggest was lucky to have made it this far in the contest.
Alsop Design's Fawood Children's Centre
This leaves O'Donnell + Tuomey's Gallery in Cork and the McLaren Offices by Foster. Both would certainly be acclaimed as winners, with the Irish scheme celebrated for its classy architecture and the Foster project backed by the office specialists.
O'Donnell + Tuomey's Lewis Gluckman Gallery in Cork
Foster and Partners' offices for motor racing team McLaren
The winner will be announced at an awards night held in Benson and Forsyth's National Museum of Scotland extension on 15 October.
This year's judging panel will be made up of AJ editor Isabel Allen, engineer Max Fordham, architect Piers Gough, RIBA president Jack Pringle and veteran journalist Joan Bakewell.by Ed Dorrell