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Can you predict the 2015 RIBA Stirling Prize shortlist?

The AJ editors pick their favourite RIBA award winners to help you draw up your own Stirling Prize shortlist

We want to hear which six nationally recognised projects you think should be in the running for the UK’s most prestigious architecture honour.

AJ editors predictions

Rory Olcayto, editor

NEO Bankside by Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners

NEO Bankside by Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners

  1. Darbishire Place, London by Niall McLaughlin Architects
  2. Abode, Cambridgeshire by Proctor & Matthews
  3. Laurieston Transformation Area, Glasgow by Elder & Cannon & Page\Park
  4. Neo Bankside, London by Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners
  5. Brentford Lock West, London by Duggan Morris
  6. Maggie’s Cancer Care Centre, Lanarkshire by Reiach and Hall

Who will win this year’s Stirling Prize? Sorry. I haven’t a clue. The best building rarely wins. And quite often doesn’t even make the shortlist. So for the six buildings I’m picking this year there’s no rational thinking, or qualitative assessment at play. Instead, I’m making a point: About housing. Still reading? Ok, here you go: 1) Niall McLaughlin Architects’ Darbishire Place, for Peabody. New London vernacular? This is how to do it, fan boys and girls. Unpretentious. No frills. Bricky as hell. ‘Excellent Ordinary’. Done. 2)  Abode, by Proctor & Matthews. Actually, this is even brickier! (maybe too bricky? Isn’t there a shortage?). Very good though. Get in. 3) Laurieston Transformation Area, by Elder & Cannon & Page\Park. Why? Because it’s Scottish you ask? You think I’m biased to projects from Scotland? Ach away. I am however biased towards projects that fill horrific wastelands that I used to walk through on the way to work, which these clever (brick) housing schemes do. 4) Neo Bankside. Because oligarchs have to live somewhere. Nuff said. (Although I should add it’s my token, non-brick selection.) 5) Duggan Morris at Brentford Lock. Confident. Generous. Londonish. And made from oblongs of dried clay. And finally 6) Maggie’s Lanarkshire by Reiach and Hall, because the prolific Edinburgh practice are long overdue serious recognition and this project, cool, austere, slightly trendy number is solid evidence of what they can do. Shame they ran out of bricks though on the perimeter wall. That’ll be the shortage I’ve heard about.

Will Hurst, deputy editor

Dundon Passivhaus, Somerset by Prewett Bizley Architects

Dundon Passivhaus, Somerset by Prewett Bizley Architects

  1. WWF Headquarters, Woking by Hopkins
  2. Maggie’s Cancer Care Centre, Lanarkshire by Reiach and Hall
  3. National Theatre, London byHaworth Tompkins
  4. Dundon Passivhaus, Somerset by Prewett Bizley Architects
  5. The Foundry, London by Architecture 00
  6. Foyles, London by Lifschutz Davidson Sandilands

These buildings are a combination of what I think will be nominated and what I’d like to be nominated for the Stirling. The real underdog among them is certainly Prewett Bizley’s house in Somerset for the practice’s Graham Bizley and his family. This timber-clad home achieves the highest standards of energy efficiency while sitting wonderfully well in its rural surroundings and avoiding any sense at all of being showy. As the judges said, it is ‘extraordinarily understated and unpretentious’ and demonstrates beautiful detailing and craftsmanship. Here’s hoping!  

Richard Waite, news editor

Alfriston School, Beaconsfield by Duggan Morris Architects

Alfriston School, Beaconsfield by Duggan Morris Architects

  1. Alfriston School, Buckinghamshire by Duggan Morris Architects
  2. Hult International Business School, London by Sergison Bates
  3. Darbishire Place, London by Niall McLaughlin Architects
  4. Maggie’s Cancer Care Centre, Lanarkshire by Reiach and Hall
  5. The Foundry, London by Architecture 00
  6. WWF Headquarters, Woking by Hopkins Architects

What you want to win – and what you think will win - are very different questions. I’ve never been good at second-guessing the RIBA judges. During my 11 years at the AJ, I have failed, every year bar one, to pick the Stirling Prize winner. Zaha Hadid’s victorious Evelyn Grace Academy was not even in my top three in 2011. So my six choices are simply the ones I like the most. They have a kindred, quiet, pared-back architectural language [except perhaps Hopkins’ bolder, woody moves in Woking]. Most of the national winners this year do. Sadly I have not been to any of the buildings on my list. I must rectify that.

James McLachlan, publications editor

Flint House, Buckinghamshire by Skene Catling de la Pena

Flint House, Buckinghamshire by Skene Catling de la Pena

  1. National Theatre, London by Haworth Tompkins
  2. Flint House, Buckinghamshire by Skene Catling de la Pena
  3. Abode, Cambridgeshire by Proctor & Matthews
  4. The Foundry, London by Architecture 00
  5. Kew House, London by Piercy & Co
  6. Maggie’s Cancer Care Centre, Lanarkshire by Reiach and Hall

This year marks the humble brick’s continued renaissance, deployed by a tapestry of architects to form everything from churches to galleries to housing schemes. The prevalence of the material lends the shortlist a pleasing artisanal physicality. As always, there is a gamut of conscientious, well-meaning architecture such as 00’s office for a human rights organisation, The Foundry to one-off housing commissions like Piercy & Co’s bold rusty barn in Kew. My preferred choice would be Flint House, which through a tapering, wedgy form and careful choice of materials (again brick) manages to augment rather than detract from the moody landscape that surrounds it. 

Owen Pritchard, technical editor

Darbishire Place by Niall McLaughlin Architects

Darbishire Place by Niall McLaughlin Architects

  1. The Whitworth, Manchester by MUMA
  2. Maggie’s Cancer Care Centre, Lanarkshire by Reiach and Hall
  3. Burntwood School, London by Allford Hall Monaghan Morris
  4. Darbishire Place, London by Niall McLaughlin Architects
  5. Hult International Business School, London by Sergison Bates
  6. WWF Headquarters, Woking by Hopkins Architects

At first glance the list of RIBA award winners may appear a little austere. There is a distinct lack of pizazz and wanton form finding, and the list is all the better for it. The cautious optimism that prevails in the industry will see a more uncompromising shortlist in future years, but this years list is made up of projects that, more often than not, were commissioned around the dark days of the recession. This has resulted in a more reserved, but more rigorous and thoughtful clutch of buildings than previous years. The buildings I hope make the shortlist for the Stirling Prize are ambitious considering this context, combining form, texture and materiality with a strong sense of purpose.

Laura Mark, senior reporter

The Foundry by Architecture 00

The Foundry by Architecture 00

  1. The Whitworth, Manchester by MUMA
  2. Greenwich School of Architecture, London by Heneghan Peng
  3. National Theatre, London by Haworth Tompkins
  4. Maggie’s Cancer Care Centre, Lanarkshire by Reiach and Hall
  5. Alfriston School, Buckinghamshire by Duggan Morris Architects
  6. The Foundry, London by Architecture 00

This year won’t signal the most exciting Stirling shortlist we have ever seen. With austerity biting perhaps it is the end of star-studded, mega projects gracing the list. But these six projects have shone through. They show that good architecture can be created from a simple, restrained palette of materials. There’s a mix in there, from projects up north in Manchester and Scotland, to a theatre, a schools, and a workplace in the south. I know I won’t have got it right – I never do – but these are the projects which I would like to see make up a Stirling shortlist.

 

 

 

Can you predict the 2015 RIBA Stirling Prize shortlist?