Chetwood Associates has admitted calling on family, friends, clients and even rival practices to vote for its Greenwich Sainsbury's store in the Stirling Prize web poll which it won last week.
The 100-strong practice beat Foster and Partners' Canary Wharf Underground Station into second place by just one vote, the RIBA said, although the exact figures have been kept under wraps. The victory gives Chetwood a place on the shortlist for the £20,000 award.
'We actively publicised the voting to clients, colleagues in other practices and other professions and family members, ' said Chetwood regional director Paul Hinkin. 'We made every effort to do that. But at no point did we insist that anyone voted for us.'
Other practices also appeared eager to push their schemes to the top of the list and there were 700 attempts at double voting by e-mail, untraceable to particular practices.There were about 5,000 votes in total.
Canary Wharf is already on the 55-building long-list for the prize and may still be shortlisted by the RIBA's judging panel, which will choose either six or seven buildings before the 4 November awards night.One of the other shortlisted buildings looks certain to come from the European Union.As revealed in the AJ last week, Brit Art star Tracey Emin will be on the Stirling Prize judging panel alongside Michael Manser, Amanda Levete, Eric Parry and Amanda Baillieu.
In the web poll, Foster and Partner's Great Glasshouse in Camarthenshire took third place followed by the Milton Keynes Theatre and Gallery by Blonski Heard Architects and the BA London Eye by Marks Barfield Architects.