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RIBA Stirling Prize shortlist revealed

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Three education buildings, two residential projects and a gallery make up the shortlist for this year’s top prize in architecture

It could be second time lucky for Reiach and Hall with City of Glasgow College, completed with Michael Laird Architects, in the running. Last year the Edinburgh-based firm’s Maggie’s Lanarkshire was tipped as a favourite to win, but missed out to Allford Hall Monaghan Morris’ Burntwood School.

Herzog & de Meuron’s Blavatnik School of Government and AJ100 Building of the Year, Weston Library by WilkinsonEyre – both for the University of Oxford – are also vying for the prestigious title. It is the first time in the award’s 21-year history that the same client has had two buildings on the shortlist.

The three education projects are up against an art gallery for Damien Hirst’s private collection by Caruso St John, a high-density housing scheme in London’s Elephant and Castle by dRMM, and a concrete house in the Forest of Dean by Welsh star and previous Manser Medal winner Loyn & Co. This last is the first house to be named a finalist of the high-profile award since 2001 when The Lawns by Smerin made the shortlist.

The shortlist

Blavatnik School of Government by Herzog & de Meuron

Blavatnik School of Government by Herzog & de Meuron

Blavatnik School of Government by Herzog & de Meuron

Source: Jim Stephenson

Previous nominations 1 (for Laban Centre in 2003), Wins 1

Odds 3/1

City of Glasgow College by Reiach and Hall with Michael Laird Architects

City of Glasgow College by Reiach and Hall with Michael Laird Architects

City of Glasgow College by Reiach and Hall with Michael Laird Architects

Source: Keith Hunter

Previous nominations 1 (for Maggie’s Lanarkshire in 2015), Wins 0

Odds 4/1

Weston Library by WilkinsonEyre

Weston Library by Wilkinson Eyre

Weston Library by Wilkinson Eyre

Source: Jim Stephenson

Previous nominations 2 (for Magna Centre in 2001 and Gateshead Millennium Bridge in 2002), Wins 2

Odds 7/2

Newport Street Gallery by Caruso St John

Newport Street Gallery by Caruso St John

Source: Helene Binet

Previous nominations 2 (for New Art Gallery Walsall in 2000 and Brick House in 2006), Wins 0

Odds 9/2

Trafalgar Place by dRMM

Trafalgar Place by dRMM

Trafalgar Place by dRMM

Source: Alex de Rijke

Previous nominations 1 (for Clapham Manor in 2010), Wins 0

Odds 4/1

Outhouse by Loyn & Co

Outhouse by Loyn & Co

Outhouse by Loyn & Co

Source: Charles Hosea

Previous nominations 0 Wins 0

Odds 5/1

Commenting on the projects, RIBA president Jane Duncan, said: ‘Every one illustrates the huge benefit that well-designed buildings can bring to people’s lives.

’As with Trafalgar Place and Newport Street Gallery, they can kick-start regeneration in neglected urban pockets to create new, desirable destinations and communities … Blavatnik School of Government, Weston Library and City of Glasgow College [show] they can give cities and institutions a new landmark to delight and draw in visitors, improve education potential and increase civic pride. Meanwhile Outhouse provides a fantastic model for a private house – it delights its owners and responds exceptionally sensitively to its treasured rural position.’

However critics have described the list as ‘relentlessly predictable’, ‘dutiful’ and ‘dull’.

The judging panel, which is chaired by Zaha Hadid Architects’ Patrik Schumacher, includes AHMM’s Paul Monaghan, Heneghan Peng co-founder Roisin Heneghan, Mike Hussey, founder of sponsor Almacantar and artist Rachel Whiteread.

The winner of the award will be announced on 6 October in a ceremony at the RIBA’s London HQ.

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Readers' comments (1)

  • O. J. SIMPSON PRIZE

    'This year's Sterling Prize list is safe. There is nothing that is going to upset anyone on there and it's unlikely we'll see protesters gathering outside Portland Place like last year when Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners' NEO Bankside made the list.'

    - Laura Mark (showing, once again, why the AJ has its finger on the pulse of the nation)

    For Ms Mark's elucidation, the Heygate Estate, on whose ruins Sterling Prize nominee Trafalgar Square has been built, was completed in 1974, and provided 1,100 council homes to around 3,000 people. In 2002, the Liberal Democrat/Conservative coalition Council announced the estate was to be demolished, with demolition costs estimated at £15 million. A further £44m was spent on emptying the estate, and £21.5 million was spent on planning its redevelopment: a total of £80.5 million. In July 2010, international property developers Lend Lease were given the redevelopment contract by the newly elected Labour Council, and the 22-acre site was sold to them for an astonishing £50 million, a total loss of £30.5 million. By comparison, in 2011 a neighbouring 1.5 acre site sold for £40 million. In 2013, the last resident was evicted from their home by Compulsory Purchase Order. The 1,100 council homes are to be replaced by 2,535 homes, with the promise that 25% will be ‘affordable’, meaning up to 80% of market rate, and a tiny 82 homes are promised for social rent.

    Architects for Social Housing (ASH) is delighted to announce that this year's prestigious O. J. Simpson Prize, awarded for getting away with murder, and which in 2015 was won by Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners for NEO Bankside, has this year been awarded to dRMM Architects for Trafalgar Place, the first phase of Lend Lease's £1.5 billion Elephant & Castle redevelopment. Built on the ruins of the demolished Heygate estate, Trafalgar Square comprises 235 high-quality homes, with 25% affordable housing at 80 per cent of market rate, and no homes for social rent. In today's Zoopla, a 2-bedroom flat in Trafalgar Square is on sale for £725,000. Owners of a 4-bedroom council flat on the former Heygate estate were offered £190,000 in compensation for their demolished home.

    In recognition of which, ASH will be awarding the prize to dRMM Architects at this year's RIBA Sterling Prize Ceremony, to be held outside Portland Place on Thursday, 6 October, 2016.

    Simon Elmer
    Architects for Social Housing

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