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Gong time

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With the awards season upon us, it is instructive to look at winners and losers, and ponder why some schemes seem to lead charmed lives and others do not.

Take, for example, the excellent Nottingham University campus by Michael Hopkins & Partners. It is the British Construction Industry Awards building of the year, having fought off stiff opposition from Glen Howells' Armargh arts centre, and Weedon Partnership's turbine blade manufacturing facility for RollsRoyce. The result was a tribute to the overall planning, detailed design, low-energy strategy and excellent building quality of the Hopkins winner. The question is, why did this project not receive an RIBA regional award? This farcical omission is by no means unique (think of the tough time given to Benson and Forsyth's magnificent Museum of Scotland last year, which had to be 'parachuted' onto the Stirling Prize shortlist). Another example is Richard Rogers Partnership's 88 Wood Street office scheme in the City of London, which some believe to be the firm's best building since the Pompidou Centre. This nearly didn't get a regional award and also ended up on the Stirling shortlist.

Somebody needs to get a grip on these awards, and remind the juries that they are there to select real architecture, not vent personal prejudices, downgrade schemes by famous architects, or dismiss building types as inherently inappropriate.

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