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Richard Rogers wins Stirling Prize for Maggie's Centre


British architecture gives its top award to Richard Rogers in the year of his bruising public row with Prince Charles

The cancer support centre in west London was commissioned by Charles Jencks, whose wife Maggie died of the disease. There are already five Maggie’s Centres in Scotland, including designs by Frank Gehry (Dundee) and Zaha Hadid (Fife).

In his acceptance speech Rogers said: ‘The one person missing here is Maggie. She will certainly be the person I am thinking of.’

This prize tops a turbulent year which saw Rogers fall out with Prince Charles, who he saw as responsible for his removal from the £1bn Chelsea Barracks scheme. Rogers has previously won the Stirling Prize in 2006 for his Madrid Barajas airport terminal.

RIBA President Ruth Reed, who presented Rogers with the award, said: ‘The shortlist for this year’s RIBA Stirling Prize was of an exceptionally high standard, and I would like to congratulate each of the shortlisted entries. In the Maggie’s Centre we have a much deserved winner, and I am delighted to award Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners with architecture’s highest accolade.’

Judges’ citation

Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners’ Maggie’s Centre exceeds at every level in fulfilling the most demanding of briefs: to create a sanctuary for terminally ill cancer sufferers with client Charles Jencks, whose deep conviction of architecture’s power to shape our experience has led to a series of cancer care centres creating a fitting memorial to his wife Maggie.

This quietly confident building is truly, unquestionably a haven for those who have been diagnosed with cancer. Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners’ achievement is in having created a completely informal, home-like sanctuary to help patients learn to live with cancer.

Conceived as a two-storey pavilion, the centre’s positive spirit is signalled with a bold roof canopy that hovers high above the walls to sail protectively over a series of intimate internal gardens, courtyards and roof terraces. A deep orange rendered wall puts a protective arm around it, making it a place apart without denying it is a part of the city. This antithesis of a hospital provides an open house in the city.

Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners has produced a timeless work of architecture that not only distils the intentions of this brief but expresses in built form compassion, sensitivity and a deep sense of our common humanity.

  • Stirling Prize ceremony pictures copyright Andrew Hendry


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Readers' comments (12)

  • Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partner is a worthy winner of the Stirling Prize. What a great shame his scheme for Chelsea Barracks was destroyed by Prince Charles and the amateur action groups - it could have been another winner and is a great loss for London

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  • Both Maggie's Centre and Bodegas Protos are good buildings by RSH but the Chelsea Barracks scheme was not and this site deserves a different scheme which pays far more respect to its context. To describe the local people of Chelsea as 'amateur' is The most appalling arrogance - it is our city, this is a democracy not a dictatorship - we will not be told what is good for us and sneered at in such a grotesque manner.

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  • If you insist on posting anonymously how else can you be described, there is no real basis or context to judge your arguement or comments?

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  • HA! Dunlop and Murray the most appallingly arrogant of all, who single handely are destroying Glasgow.

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  • I agree, Alan. The chelsea amateurs led by Georgie Thorburn are a case in point. The developers will never reach the critical mass to make the project commercially viable therefore the site will remain barren for years to come. It will be the battersea power-station north of the river - Georgie and followers have effectively blighted this part of chelsea - though Georgie doesnt actually live in Chelsea - she lives in pimlico. One can only speculate what her motives were - but then when you hear she has been seen 'offering' her services to other london developers demonstrates the fact that she was only ever in it for herself - all good developers should avoid her and she may disapperar

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  • lets keep this on topic...eh? The fact that Maggies (a wonderful cause) continues to support great architecture is something to be celebrated...well RSH+P...a brilliant building.

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  • A brilliant building, how can you tell that, have you seen it in the flesh and been inside? Looks like a new station on the Jubilee Line to me.

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  • What an excellent result. It is very gratifying to see a practice most often characterised by the excellence of its 'jumbo' projects turn its hand to a smaller project of such social worth, and to do so with subtlety, sensitivity and taste.

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  • Yes, I have seen it on the inside...and no, it looks nothing like a line on Jubilee Line!

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  • Comment number one is quite ridiculous, and very badly informed.

    Anonymous or not, comment number two is correct in what it states.

    I would suggest the 'anon' who thinks one person sunk the (bad) Chelsea scheme widens his or her horizons, and accepts that there was widespread concern.

    Architects and developers - only in it for themselves? It's a point of view.

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