I find this to be very hard to understand as an outcome of the Stirling Prize given the line up. It reinforces to me that the RIBA is at a great distance from what I believe to be important in architecture.
This feels like a way of showing off London’s ‘still open for business’ status to investors in a weak attempt to correct for Brexit. A huge budget, wealthy client and wealthy and globally successful architect are bound to deliver something of this calibre. It’s a question about whether we want buildings of this particular calibre anymore.
Beautiful crafted buildings that made up the rest of the shortlist seem to much better deal with place, context and materials than this. Of course we all are gravely concerned about the environment this week, but that is not to say we should loose sight of the complexity of what sustainability can mean and the at times flawed unit of measurement that is BREEAM. A human scale brick community centre with labyrinthine air systems and thermal mass seems like a building with longevity that many architects in the country could learn from. A billion pound innovation for innovation’s sake monster doesn’t feel like it can offer much to inspire. Or maybe I just find it ugly.
Either way, I feel much like I did after the Brexit referendum. At a distance from the outcome in a way that makes me question everything I thought I knew about the direction things were going.