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Bookies’ report: money mounts up on MUMA to win RIBA Stirling Prize 2018

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Storey’s Field Community Centre and Eddington Nursery by MUMA for the University of Cambridge is being heavily backed by punters to win this year’s Stirling Prize, according to William Hill

The bookmaker said a third of all bets had been wagered on the ‘breathtaking’ kindergarten and community hub, which was built as part of Phase 1 of the North West Cambridge development.

The £8.28 million scheme remains the 10/3 favourite to be crowned the UK’s best new building of 2018.

William Hill told the AJ that the largest single bet, worth £100, had been placed on Foster + Partners’ new Bloomberg HQ in London, currently priced at 7/2.

The odds have not changed since the shortlist was announced on 19 July.

Stirling collage

Stirling collage

Shortlist in full (with odds by William Hill)

10/3 Storey’s Field Community Centre and Nursery, Cambridge by MUMA
7/2 Bloomberg, London by Foster + Partners
4/1 Bushey Cemetery, Hertfordshire by Waugh Thistleton Architects
4/1 New Tate St Ives, by Jamie Fobert Architects with Evans & Shalev
9/2 The Sultan Nazrin Shah Centre, Oxford by Níall McLaughlin Architects
11/2 Chadwick Hall, University of Roehampton, London by Henley Halebrown

The bookmakers’ takings reflect the outcome of the AJ’s recent online poll, in which more than a quarter (26 per cent) of the nearly 500 voters plumped for MUMA’s project.

The winner of the RIBA Stirling Prize will be announced on Wednesday 10 October 2018 at the Roundhouse in Camden, London.

The Architects’ Journal is the professional media partner for the RIBA Stirling Prize.

Stirlnig aj reader vote

Stirlnig aj reader vote

RIBA Stirling Prize 2018 shortlist analysis by AJ’s architecture editor Rob Wilson

It’s a strong, if slightly astringent, list of projects on the shortlist this year. There’s the usual culture and money mix, with a lack of housing and health, reflecting the RIBA Regional Awards, as does the geographical distribution – all Oxford, Cambridge and points south.

Jamie Fobert’s Tate St Ives is worthily here: for once a cultural building not as statement outside and neutrality in, but one infused with, and more than literally embedded in, the light and site of its locale.

Foster’s Bloomberg looms inevitably on the list: but it is a significant building and interesting take on the workplace. Its sheer muscularity no doubt will be seen as signature ‘late Foster’. The inclusion of these two projects underlines some significant omissions: AL_A’s V&A and Rogers’ Leadenhall: another sunken gallery and another big-beast City building. It’s perhaps a sign of the times that it’s the more expressive, hotly coloured examples that didn’t make the cut.

It would also have been good to have seen Amin Taha’s Clerkenwell Close here (perhaps not politic to have a housing scheme by him two years running?). But the more general and continuing lack of housing certainly raises a question about what the prize is designed to recognise. Is housing that makes the background warp and weft of a city not fit for a beauty parade?

What is refreshing is the strong community showing from MUMA’s Storey’s Field Community Centre and Eddington Nursery and Waugh Thistleton’s monument-like Bushey Cemetery, both beautifully tuned to their functions.

The renaissance in higher education is well reflected: Níall Mclaughlin’s very fine Nazrin Shah: a poised, sinuous, garden pavilion outside, flexible practical study spaces within.

More surprising, though, is the inclusion of Henley Halebrown’s Chadwick Hall, the finely wrought architecture of its façades not completely followed through to the interiors.

And the winner? I’d vote for the MUMA building, crafted to its use, that makes poetics out of the pragmatics of passive ventilation, and a landmark without show.

North west cambridge storeys field centre muma © alan williams 7

North west cambridge storeys field centre muma © alan williams 7

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