Quite a surprising result – but perhaps no surprise that once again the favourite didn’t win the prize. Every year the Stirling shortlist offers a fascinating mix of buildings and begs the question about how to decide a winner from such a diverse series of projects. Having chaired RIBA regional awards juries twice myself, I can imagine how difficult it can be.
I had backed King Edward Chapel – a materially rich project with incredible attention to detail. The result is reverential and inspiring, and was no doubt a real pleasure to design and build. As for the winner, Astley Castle is a beautiful and creative exercise to bring a ruin back to life, with a design that is timeless and full of feeling. Its simple yet effective detailing, and calm character make it a pure joy to see.
I am never sure whether the Stirling Prize is an accurate snapshot of the state of British architecture. A showcase of some of the best perhaps, but no more. However it certainly is a fantastic way of raising awareness among a wide audience of the talent that’s out there, and all credit to the RIBA for linking up with the BBC as well as AJ this year.