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Stirling Prize 2010: the armchair reaction

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Find out what the viewers at home thought of Zaha Hadid’s RIBA Stirling Prize 2010 victory on Saturday night

Watch the televised ceremony, which was shown on BBC2 at 6.30pm, here.

Dan Newport of re|form
‘My choice was the Neues Museum, but I had an inkling that this would be Zaha’s year after her previous shortlistings - and MAXXI is certainly a worthy winner. However the real question here lies with the shortlist, and although it was good to see two school projects included showing that quality can be achieved with educational building, it is a damning indictment on the current state of British Architecture that by far and away the two best schemes up for the award had been completed in Mainland Europe. From the small practice point of view I was pleased to see the inclusion of Theis & Khan, and hope that the media exposure leads to bigger projects for them, as at the end of the day awards like this should be used to promote good design from emerging talent.’

An unnamed London-based architect
‘Why is Zaha wearing a onion costume from a charity fun-run?’

Chris Roche of 11.04 Architects
‘I was surprised David Chipperfield did not win - for me the Neues Museum was the clearest winner in years. You have to respect the integrity of the judges, however, last years winner was equally surprising, in which case you have to question the criteria for selection.’

Chris Romer-Lee of Studio Octopi
‘Zaha should have been second and Chipperfield should have won. As the MAXXIi gallery director stated, this building is not from or about Rome. Sure the spaces are dynamic but aren’t we all a bit tired of galleries that don’t show art well? The level of drawn work for this project shown at his design museum exhibition was astounding. If this sensitivity was in anyway reflected in the space making then this understated, rigourous work should of been rewarded with more than a conservation award. The debate rages, is this conservation, restoration or refurbishment. I’ve not seen either project in the flesh but I’d by a ticket to Berlin before Rome!’

Robert Klaschka of Studio Klaschka
‘I don’t have a particular pre-disposition against Maxxi though I agree with the general consensus that it has stunning interior spaces, in the photos, which are let down by the exterior. In my opinion the Stirling prize’s Achilles heel is that it tries to be all things to all men. You always have one or two masterworks, like Maxxi, but then some smaller less ambitious ‘worthy’ projects. Perhaps more categories would help, and certainly a British project would make sense. I suppose the Stirling needs to decide whether it is a ‘Best Wow Building in the World’ prize, or a business showcase for British Architecture, or something more transparent but complex. The results of this sort of competition is always going to be contentious, what I like about Stirling is that the shortlist is short enough that the buildings can be visited in depth on TV, that rarely happens beyond Grand Designs.
The anger and the types of debate surrounding the prize each year is an indication that it has a place, because most of the time getting people to be interested in Architecture is a struggle. If I were to improve the format I would try to make publish the decision criteria and make the judging much more transparent. Look at the interest and controversy that surround Ed Milliband beating David Milliband who was back by nearly all sectors of the vote, but lost on the union vote. If Maxxi had just lost to Clapham Manor on the grounds of sustainability criteria say, perhaps this would provoke a more mature level of debate.’


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