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Stirling 2001 - the architects

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Stirling 2001

Chris Wilkinson and Jim Eyre, Wilkinson Eyre Architects

Wilkinson Eyre Architects' horizons have broadened since the practice's Stirling Prize win.

'This is a step forward and it may help us on the international scene, ' says Chris Wilkinson (above left). 'We would like the chance of doing more unusual work and this award may help us to be considered for those kind of projects abroad.'

His practice is already in the final running for a competition to design an office in Beijing, and this is the kind of work Wilkinson is keen to secure with its new post-Stirling status. But Magna also marks a step forward in the firm's approach to architecture, he says.

Wilkinson sums this up as using 'a more poetic combination of design and function' through enriching the quality of spaces, forms and experience.

He adds: 'When I first visited the building I was knocked out by the dramatic quality of the space and was determined to retain the spirit of the place. This meant keeping the darkness and patina of use.

'It has not been cleaned up and we have been very careful to keep the quality and enhance it with an overlay of interventions.' These include four pavilions representing earth, fire, water and air in a 350m-long and 30m-high industrial shed.

Fellow director Jim Eyre is in equally positive mood. He says: 'The Stirling is a very important prize - the premier award for architecture in this country - and it should add to our profile.'

But he warns that the organisations that fund such projects should not kiss them goodbye once they have been paid for and built.

'More energy should be put into ensuring projects remain in good shape, ' he says. 'We have to look after all these buildings; it is not just the new ones like Magna but the museums and collections, to ensure they continue to be excellent places to visit.'

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