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Bookies laughing all the way to bank after Newport Street Stirling win

Peter St John
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Bookmakers have cleaned up after AJ readers’ favourite – Caruso St John’s Newport Street Gallery – won this year’s RIBA Stirling Prize

The winning scheme, a row of listed industrial buildings in south London converted into a free public gallery for artist Damien Hirst, was announced at a ceremony in London last night.

The gallery was consistently an outsider with punters after its place on the shortlist was announced in July. Its final odds were 5/1.

A spokesman for bookmaker William Hill told the AJ: ’There was hardly a bet on the winner. It must be the biggest surprise in recent history. We can probably afford to buy a Damien Hirst with our winnings.’

It is understood the judges were torn between the shortlisted schemes, with a three-to-two split between the Caruso St John-designed gallery and Herzog & de Meuron’s Blavatnik School of Government.

William Hill said it saw a late flurry of bets on the latter, leading it to cut the odds it was offering from 7/2 to 5/2.

The bookmaker also admitted it would have lost money if the Blavatnik School of Government had picked up the prize.

The judging panel was chaired by Zaha Hadid Architects’ Patrik Schumacher, and also included AHMM’s Paul Monaghan, Heneghan Peng co-founder Roisin Heneghan, Mike Hussey, founder of sponsor Almacantar, and artist Rachel Whiteread.

In contrast, the AJ’s alternative judging panel thought that the winner should be Reiach & Hall and Michael Laird Architects’ scheme for City of Glasgow College, at odds of 9/2.

Newport Street Gallery  c  Helene Binet 5

Newport Street Gallery c Helene Binet 5

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