The Financial Times newspaper has abandoned its biannual architecture awards and has no plans to relaunch them.
The paper, which has supported architecture through its awards scheme for the last 30 years, told the aj this week that it had decided not to proceed because of the money it has pumped into the creation of London's Millennium Bridge. The 370m long bridge, the first signs of which are appearing on its moorings in the Thames, has been designed by Foster and Partners and Sir Anthony Caro with engineer Chris Wise. It will stretch between the new Bankside Tate and St Paul's Steps and the newspaper says that it demonstrates its continued commitment to architecture.
'We're still supportive of the sector' insisted a spokeswoman for the paper, 'but we're not continuing the awards because of the bridge project we decided to support three or four years ago'.
The last awards took place in November 1997, when Chris Wilkinson triumphed with his Stratford Market depot for the Jubilee Line Extension. The scheme beat buildings by David Morley Architects, Nicholas Grimshaw and Partners, Future Systems and Mills Beaumont Leavey Channon. Jim Eyre of Chris Wilkinson Architects said, 'I think it's a great shame. In many ways it was the best award we had won. Out of about 38 awards that we received, we felt it was a very prestigious award. Most of the architects who have won it have gone on to greater things.'
The ft is not alone in shunning architectural awards however. The Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment is also to discontinue its awards scheme, begun in its previous incarnation as the Royal Fine Art Commission. The rfac ran a building of the year scheme in partnership with BSkyB. cabe's Francis Golding said this week it had no plans for awards, but that if it was to consider a programme in the future, they would be awards 'with a difference', such as for completed buildings by architects under 45.
For more cabe news see page 14.