Zaha Hadid’s ‘sinuous’ and ‘dynamic’ MAXXI Museum of 21st Century Art museum in Rome has won this year’s RIBA Stirling Prize
It is the first time Hadid has landed the £20,000 prize having been shortlisted for the prize on three previous occasions (Nord Park Cable Railway, Austria, 2008; Phaeno Science Center, Wolfsburg, Germany, 2006; BMW Central Building, Leipzig, Germany, 2005).
She saw off competition from the hotly tipped Neues Museum in Berlin, by former Stirling Prize-winner and the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford by Rick Mather, voted the People’s Choice winner in an RIBA poll, to scoop the most prestigious prize in UK architecture.
A delighted Hadid said ‘it was a great honour’ to receive the award ‘in particular because it [was] in Jim Stirling’s name who was a very great architect and who taught us how to deal with complexity’.
It is really very exciting for me to receive a British prize - for a change
She added: ‘It was a shame that our client Pio Baldi could not be here because he lost his passport. In a way it is a confirmation of the Italianness of this project.’
Hadid went on to thank long-term collaborator Patrik Shumacher and said: ‘It is really very exciting for me to receive a British prize - for a change.’
‘People ask me why I stay here in Britain and I tell them it is because of the Architectural Association, the great engineers, the amazing people and London - it is a fantastic city.
‘I hope any government would support architects and young people in this country. I’m sorry for the guys and gals doing the schools [DSDHA and dRMM] but your time will come.’
She concluded: ‘I’m very thrilled it does mean a lot to mean to me.’
RIBA President Ruth Reed, speaking at the televised ceremony, said: ‘In MAXXI we have a much deserved winner, and I am delighted to award Zaha Hadid Architects with architecture’s highest accolade.’
The 2010 RIBA Stirling Prize judges were Ruth Reed, RIBA President (chair); Ivan Harbour, architect, Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners; Edward Jones, architect; Dixon Jones, Professor; Lisa Jardine, historian and writer; and Mark Lawson, broadcaster.
Full judges’ citation
‘MAXXI is described as a building for the staging of art, and whilst provocative at many levels, this project shows a calmness that belies the complexities of its form and organisation. The nature of the project means everything has to be over-specified – throughout the design process the architects had no idea what the series of rooms would be used to hang, so walls which will bear a ton of rusting steel might be graced by miniatures.
‘The museum, for all its structural pyrotechnics, is rationally organised as five main suites. The building is bravely day lit with a sinuous roof of controllable skylights, louvres and beams which orientate and excite the visitor and create uplifting spaces.
‘This is a mature piece of architecture, the distillation of years of experimentation, only a fraction of which ever got built. It is the quintessence of Zaha’s constant attempt to create a landscape as a series of cavernous spaces drawn with a free, roving line. The resulting piece, rather than prescribing routes, gives the visitor a sense of exploration. It is perhaps her best work to date.’