O’Donnell + Tuomey’s London School of Economics’ student centre has missed out to a Chilean university building in the architecture category of the Design Museum’s Design of the Year Award
The RIBA Gold Medal winners’ scheme, which narrolwy missed out in both the RIBA 2014 Stirling Prize and the 2015 Mies van der Rohe Prize, was the only UK project to make it onto the prestigious list of nominees.
The Saw Swee Hock Building was beaten to the top prize by the UC Innovation Centre in Chile by ELEMENTAL.
The Chilean firm’s university building in Santiago features walls of thermal mass surrounding internal open air squares. It was praised for creating ‘the right environment for knowledge-creation’.
ELEMENTAL’s winning scheme also saw off competition from Mies van der Rohe prizewinner Barozzi Viega’s Philharmonic Hall in Poland, Frank Gehry’s Fondation Louis Vuitton in Paris, World Architecture Festival-winning House for Trees by Vo Trong Nghia Architects, MVRDV’s Rotterdam market hall and a mosque in Istanbul by Emre Arolat Architects.
‘The UC Innovation Center is an excellent example of how the design of an office building can engage with its context. Its large openings carved away from its facades not only act as air corridors, light channels and pockets of collective spaces, but they also provide a different perception of such a building in the city: one that is permeable, visually, socially and climatically with its environment’, said judge Farshid Moussavi.
Asif Khan’s Megafaces project for the Sochi Olympics missed out on picking up the prize in the digital category of the award, while Snohetta’s designs for Norwegian banknotes lost out to a poster campaign about food waste and misshapen vegetables in the graphics category.
Now in its eighth year, the award the international award recognises ‘design that promotes or delivers change, enables access, extends design practice or captures the spirit of the year’.
Last year Zaha Hadid’s Haydar Aliyev Centre became the first architecture project to win the prize. But the award caused widespread controversy and sparked protests from human rights groups, after the building was named in honour of former Soviet secret police general who went on to rule Azerbaijan for 30 years and whose son, Ilham Aliyev, is now in power.
The six category winners, along with all of the other 70 nominated designs for 2015, are currently on display in an exhibition at the Design Museum, London which runs until 31 March 2016.
The overall winner will be revealed on 4 June.
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