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RIBA Stirling Prize 2019 shortlist announced

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An eclectic group of contenders makes up the six-strong shortlist for this year’s RIBA Stirling Prize

In one of the most diverse shortlists in recent years, the schemes vying for the title of best new building in the UK comprise a Scottish whisky distillery, a major transport interchange, a rural opera house, an energy-efficient council housing project, an experimental house made of cork and an art gallery.

The projects were chosen from the 54 RIBA National Award winners unveiled last month.

2019 shortlist

It is the first time on the shortlist for three of the design teams: Feilden Fowles; Matthew Barnett Howland with Dido Milne and Oliver Wilton; and Mikhail Riches with Cathy Hawley.

However, both Witherford Watson Mann (Astley Castle in 2013) and Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners (Barajas Airport in 2006 and Maggie’s Centre London in 2009) are previous winners, while Grimshaw has previously been shortlisted for the Eden Project (2001) and Amsterdam Bijlmer ArenA station (2008).

RIBA president Ben Derbyshire said: ‘The RIBA Stirling Prize shortlist epitomises the enviable global reputation of UK architecture.

‘These six buildings could hardly be more diverse in typology and scale – from a rustic stable block-turned-theatre to a vast national railway station. But what they have in common – ground-breaking innovation, extraordinary creativity and the highest quality materials and detailing – sets them apart, rightfully earning them a chance to win the highest accolade in architecture.

‘The ambition and commitment of the clients who commissioned the buildings is remarkable and sits at the heart of their success. Given the fact the UK faces the worst housing crisis for generations and a global climate emergency, we must encourage their architectural ambition, innovation, bravery and skill.

These six buildings could hardly be more diverse in typology and scale

‘From the way that Cork House experiments with entirely plant-based materials, to Goldsmith Street’s ultra-low energy affordable homes, each of these six buildings pushes the boundaries of architecture, exceeding what has been done before, and providing solutions to some of the most pressing challenges of our times.’

Last year the prize was controversially won by Foster + Partners’ £1.3 billion European headquarters for media giant Bloomberg in London – a victory that widely divided opinion and was described by Stephen Lawrence Prize winner Anna Liu as a ‘disastrous result’.

Bookmaker William Hill was also left licking its wounds with more punters backing Bloomberg than any of the other shortlisted schemes. This led to a major payout for those who wagered cash on the building which, oddly, had not been the bookies’ favourite at any point in the run-up to the 2018 ceremony.

Intriguingly, Bloomberg had been the least popular shortlisted building among the AJ’s readers, with MUMA’s Storey’s Field Community Centre and Eddington Nursery the most heavily supported.

The winner of the 2019 RIBA Stirling Prize will be announced on Tuesday 8 October 2019 at the Roundhouse in London.

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

 

 

The six shortlisted schemes

Cork House by Matthew Barnett Howland with Dido Milne and Oliver Wilton

Cork House 1Ricky Jones

Cork House, Berkshire (Architect: Matthew Barnett Howland with Dido Milne and Oliver Wilton) An ingenious, experimental, carbon-neutral private house made almost entirely from cork.

‘An ingenious, experimental, carbon-neutral private house made almost entirely from cork’

Goldsmith Street by Mikhail Riches with Cathy Hawley

Read the AJ building study here

Goldsmith Street  Tim Crocker

Goldsmith Street, Norwich (Architect: Mikhail Riches with Cathy Hawley) Judges’ citation: ‘A large development of 105 highly energy-efficient homes for social rent, designed to Passivhaus standards for Norwich City Council.’

‘A large development of 105 highly energy-efficient homes for social rent, designed to Passivhaus standards for Norwich City Council’

London Bridge Station by Grimshaw

Read the AJ building study here

London Bridge Station 3 Paul Raftery

London Bridge Station (Architect: Grimshaw) Judges’ citation: ‘A radical reconfiguration and development of one of London’s busiest stations with a new voluminous, light-filled concourse.’

‘A radical reconfiguration and development of one of London’s busiest stations with a new voluminous, light-filled concourse’

Nevill Holt Opera by Witherford Watson Mann Architects

Read the AJ building study here

Nevill Holt Opera 2 H l ne Binet

Nevill Holt Opera, Leicestershire (Architect: Witherford Watson Mann Architects) Judges’ citation: ‘A contemporary opera theatre within a 17th-century stable block.’

‘A contemporary opera theatre within a 17th-century stable block’

The Macallan Distillery and Visitor Experience by Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners

Read the AJ building study here

Macallan 8 Joas Souza

The Macallan distillery and visitor experience, Moray (Architect: Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners) Judges’ citation: ‘A dynamic, high-tech visitor centre with an undulating grass-covered roof.’

‘A dynamic, high-tech visitor centre with an undulating grass-covered roof’

The Weston, Yorkshire Sculpture Park by Feilden Fowles Architects

Read the AJ building study here

The Weston 14 Peter Cook

The Weston, Yorkshire Sculpture Park, Wakefield (Architect: Feilden Fowles Architects) Judges’ citation:’An exquisite new gallery nestled in the Yorkshire landscape.’

‘An exquisite new gallery nestled in the Yorkshire landscape’

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Readers' comments (4)

  • Corkitecture!

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  • Strong list. My early favourite is Marmalade Lane (Oh not in there), so go with Goldsmith Street. Followed by London Bridge for maximum beneficial impact on the lives of many.

    If 'architecture' is the main requirement then the Distillery and Cork House offer extremes and if conservation is the thing then go for the Opera House.

    But as usual give them all five years and look at how they perform, weather and grow.

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  • I should have included the sculpture gallery in there but it's not Fielden Fowles at their best which is very good and I'm sure they will have another chance.

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  • As an occasional user of London Bridge Station I acknowledge that the remodeling of the station is an attractive and very welcome improvement. However it is spoiled by having island canopies rather than an overall glazed canopy over the platforms and tracks. In the winter the platforms are very exposed to cold winds and rain principally because the tracks and platforms are elevated. However this is made worse by the substantial open areas over the tracks, and the canopies being unduly high and not extending to the platform edges (let alone overhanging them). This is even worse where parts of the canopies have (currently fashionable) wavy roofs which rise up, increasing the exposure to the elements still further.

    The concourse areas below the platforms and tracks are attractive and spacious, and the the pedestrian circulation well thought out and well connected to the rest of the station and tube lines. However the unpleasant exposure of the platforms is a major deficiency of the project in my view which should be sufficient to prevent it from being awarded the Stirling Prize on this occasion.

    If the canopies are strong enough and the silly wavy bits were replaced with level parts however, and it was possible to install lightweight glazing over the tracks, spanning between the canopy edges, then the project WOULD, in my opinion, be worthy of the prize in a future year.

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