The odds have already been cut on Renzo Piano’s Shard to win this year’s Stirling Prize
Following an early rush on the bookmaker’s favourite, William Hill has trimmed its price on the ‘omnipresent’ London skyscraper to land the prestigious accolade from 2/1 to 6/4.
The odds on the other contenders, including Zaha Hadid’s much-fancied London Aquatics Centre, remain unchanged.
‘I cannot remember a time when we have seen such early interest in the Stirling Prize,’ said William Hill spokesman Rupert Adams. He added: ‘The public have given a huge thumbs up to The Shard.’
This year’s six-strong shortlist is made up of ‘major new additions’ to the urban fabric around the country. The other contenders for the prize are O’Donnell + Tuomey Architects’ student centre at the LSE in London, Mecanoo’s Library of Birmingham, Haworth Tompkins’ Everyman Theatre in Liverpool and the Manchester School of Art by Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios.
The six finalists were chosen from the 44 RIBA Award winners and the 12 EU Award winners.
The winner will be announced the evening of Thursday 16 October at the RIBA headquarters, Portland Place in London.
London Bridge Tower (The Shard) by Renzo Piano Building Workshop
‘1.2 million square feet of accommodation has been built on a small parcel of land directly next to one of London’s major transport hubs. To make a tower on such a tight site a thing of great beauty is a rare achievement. Six uses occupy multiple floors: health clinic, offices, restaurants, hotel, residential apartments and public viewing gallery; to create a ‘vertical village’. The building is omnipresent in London and has added immeasurably to the city.’
Latest odds: 6/4
London Aquatics Centre by Zaha Hadid Architects
‘This world-class building was a fitting backdrop for the 2012 Olympic Games. Inspired by the fluid geometry of water in motion, the undulating roof sweeps up from the ground like a wave to fold over the building and define two separate pools.
‘It is very beautiful; sensual with a generosity of space. The pure and powerful form is conceptually flawless; it will be a favourite venue for Londoners for generations to come.’
Latest odds: 5/2
London School of Economics – Saw Swee Hock Student Centre by O’Donnell + Tuomey Architects
‘This is an object lesson in creating a surprising and striking building on a difficult urban site. Formed as a continuous spiral rising upwards, the outer brick walls slope and twist, gouged with cuts and cracks that give light and form. The floors take up complex shapes, yet all the spaces feel natural and functional. This is a building showing a high degree of craftsmanship.’
Latest odds: 4/1
Library of Birmingham by Mecanoo
‘Three stacked boxes adorned with a glittering filigree screen are the signature of this landmark, which makes a bold and transformative addition to the city. With formal and informal spaces for reading, relaxing, playing and participating in the library’s programme of events, it has shaken the traditional perception of a library to one where families and readers can spend a whole day learning and engaging.’
Latest odds: 5/1
Everyman Theatre, Liverpool by Haworth Tompkins
‘After nine years gestation, Liverpool has a brand new purpose-built theatre of outstanding quality. The selection and use of materials has created an exceptionally tactile building. This is a building that will age gracefully, continually enriched by the patina of daily use. It will both reassure and delight its loyal audience and those discovering this gem for the first time.’
Latest odds: 6/1
Manchester School of Art by Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios
The major refurbishment of a 1960s tower and new extension with open studios and workshops has been executed with great skill and innovation. Design excellence has been coupled with a visionary brief calling for staff and students to break traditional course divisions and work across disciplines. This is a building where the exploration of design and creativity will flourish.
Latest odds: 9/1