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Westminster and Magna in awards reversal of fortunes

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Wilkinson Eyre's Magna has failed to impress the judges of this year's Civic Trust Awards announced today. The Stirling Prize winner was placed in the trust's third-place 'commendation' category.

Michael Hopkins and Partners triumphed, with its Nottingham University Jubilee Campus scheme, taking one of just seven prestigious 'special awards'; while the controversial £255 million Portcullis House/Westminster Station scheme picked up one of the 50 second category 'awards'.

Sir Michael Hopkins submitted his Westminster Underground Station scheme as a combined entry with the much-criticised Portcullis House - a move that may have cost him last year's Stirling Prize. But the Civic Prize judges concluded that the project was an exemplar of urban design, and awarded it the special Sustainability Award.

The Civic Trust Awards are judged on design excellence, but also on the relationship between the projects, the environment and the community in which they are set. There are four categories - seven 'special awards', 50 'awards', 79 'commendations' and 49 'mentions'.

Awards manager Eleanor Murkett admitted the decision to only commend Magna was 'a bit controversial'. But although the scheme was commendable, 'it didn't come across as an 'exemplar' in terms of putting Rotherham on the map, ' she said. Judges were also concerned that access to the site would be difficult for wheelchair users.

The Civic Trust Awards rotate on a two-year cycle between urban and rural projects. This year was the turn of urban projects, so Nicholas Grimshaw and Partners' £57 million Eden Project was not eligible. For the same reason, Alsop Architects had to wait until this year to enter awardwinning Peckham Library, despite completing it in 1999 and winning the Stirling Prize in 2000.

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