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David Adjaye to chair 2018 RIBA Stirling Prize jury

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Architect David Adjaye has been announced as chair of this year’s RIBA Stirling Prize jury

The 51-year-old, whose practice was itself shortlisted for the award in 2006 with its Whitechapel Idea Store, is joined by RIBA president Ben Derbyshire, former artistic director at the Southbank Centre and Woman of the World Festival founder Jude Kelly and Almacantar property director Kathrin Hersel. 

The jury is completed by last year’s winner, Alex de Rijke from DRMM, while architect Simon Sturgis has again been appointed to advise the panel on sustainability.

Speaking about the six finalists for the prize, Adjaye, who received a knighthood last year, said: ‘This year’s shortlist demonstrates sensitive and engaged thinking across a wide range of projects – from cemeteries to nurseries and from galleries to workspaces. It is a privilege to judge for Britain’s highest prize for excellence in architecture and to celebrate the outstanding work of my peers.’

The RIBA Stirling Prize judges will visit all six shortlisted buildings over the next month, with the winner announced on Wednesday 10 October at the Roundhouse in Camden, London.

According to bookmaker William Hill, the favourite to win the prize remains Storey’s Field Community Centre and Eddington Nursery by MUMA for the University of Cambridge. Its odds have shortened from 10/3 to 11/4.

The £8.28 million scheme was built as part of Phase 1 of the North West Cambridge development. 

Stirling collage

Stirling collage

Shortlist in full (with latest odds by William Hill)

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

Odds as of 7 September 2018

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.

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

North west cambridge storeys field centre muma © alan williams 7

North west cambridge storeys field centre muma © alan williams 7

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Readers' comments (1)

  • Phil Parker

    Good to see Simon is advising on Sustainability.

    Shouldn’t someone be checking the books and be advising on viability? The profession should avoid the embarrassment of awarding its top gong to a scheme that’s unviable and bordering bankrupt like last year.

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