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Stirling 2001 - the client

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Stirling 2001

Stephen Feber, chief executive, Magna

As the client, Magna's chief executive Stephen Feber insists there is plenty more to achieve at the centre after the Stirling victory. He aims to steer the project through further phases including more exhibition space, a business park and maybe a school.

One of the keys to Magna's success in the Stirling Prize was the creative climate between architects, designers and consultants. 'I aimed to set up a good integration, ' he says. 'The architects were not prima donnas but defended their designs with vigour and that is unusual.'

The award is a badge of recognition for the quality of the work but any financial spin-offs will not be at the expense of culture. 'The client is a not-for-profit charity: what is good financially is good culturally because we put money into the project, ' says Feber, a museum director who has spent 22 years heading heritage and arts projects.

He is unsure how the victory will translate into visitor numbers, but expects up to 450,000 people this year. This is far more than the original target of 300,000, and on busy days the centre has closed because too many visitors have descended on the attraction en masse.

Not bad for a large building with a limited cost plan, he says.Magna was a snip at £46.5 million and design was paramount for Feber: 'The promotion of creativity is the fulcrum of a sustainable future.'

Feber swears he had no idea what would win the Stirling Prize but had shown the judges around his cavernous creation and noted their enthusiasm.

'The prize is much more important through TV coverage, ' he says, pointing out the sad irony of architecture's pitiful profile when Sir James Stirling was alive.

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