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Stirling Prize 2012: In print, online and via social media

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The AJ’s comprehensive coverage of architecture’s biggest night

The week leading up to the RIBA Stirling Prize is, as ever, fuelled by speculation and bet-placing. Will it be the stadium, or was the fanfare of the Games reward enough for Populous’s prized structure? Will it be Wakefield, or will Chipperfield have to settle for being shortlisted three years in a row?

Next week, controversy over the worthiness of the winner will, no doubt, follow the decision. Remember the chatter last year over Zaha Hadid’s Evelyn Grace having beaten Hopkins’ Velodrome? Or the style war that broke out in 2010 when Hadid’s MAXXI was chosen over Chipperfield and Harrap’s Neues Museum?

The AJ will be tweeting and posting live to TheAJ.co.uk from Manchester to report on the event and the gossip that follows this year’s announcement. But our independent coverage is underpinned by our backing for what we consider to be the pre-eminent award for the design of a single building.

One of the reasons we continue to support the Stirling Prize is that it is still the most rigorously judged architecture award. By our count, every building shortlisted for this award has been visited on at least four separate occasions. Every building that receives a RIBA Award has already been visited twice, once by a shortlisting architect whose job it is to recommend the scheme for a full jury visit, and secondly by that jury - consisting of a chair not from the building’s region, an architect working in the area, and a lay person with a connection to architecture. If given a RIBA Award, it has effectively been longlisted for the Stirling Prize. From the list of RIBA Awards, a midlist is created for the Stirling Prize and the buildings visited once again, this time by members of the RIBA Awards Group.

Once a shortlist of six has been determined from this midlist, the buildings are visited a fourth time by a jury of five. This year’s jury includes Nicholas Grimshaw as chair, Joanna van Heyningen of van Heyningen and Haward, Hilde Daem of Robbrecht & Daem, writer and broadcaster Naomi Cleaver and Mark Jones, master of St Cross College Oxford and former director of the V&A. The final vote on the winning project will take place shortly before the prize is presented this Saturday, 13 October, at Manchester Central Convention Complex.

In this week’s AJ magazine, we present a 360-degree review of the six shortlisted buildings in plans, drawings, photographs, materials boards, details and critique. This coverage is accompanied by six films shot for the AJ and featured here.

They feature interviews with the architects and a detailed walk through the buildings. There is also additional technical content on AJBuildingsLibrary.co.uk. This will hopefully give you a thorough taste of the projects that have been selected as this year’s best, and help you make up your own minds about who should win the Stirling Prize.

Congratulations to the shortlisted architects and their extended teams - and may the best building win.

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