Sunday20 August 2017

Stirling reactions: 'the UK entries didn't stand a chance'

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The dust has settled and Zaha Hadid has found a spot on her perfectly parametrical shelf for her new award, but how popular was the judges decision? BD asks other architects what they thought of this year’s Stirling and takes a look at how the award was covered by the critics.

The architects

“To cite Curtis Mayfield, ’We are all of us winners’. In their various ways they were all great buildings, but Zaha deserved the prize the most. Congratulations to her practice. dRMM were delighted to be contenders.” Alex de Rijke, dRMM

“Even though the clandestine voting added to the excitement, the result was not a great surprise. Something about the bookies, the 2007 results and the cameras angled towards Zaha’s table. However, her dress did steal the show. Both Maxxi and the Neues Museum will inspire pilgrimages. Whilst I made a trip to Vitra in 1994 and saw Zaha’s fire station, I will be visiting Berlin next.” David Kohn

“Hadid and Chipperfield/Harrap’s projects are international in ambition, both stake out the agenda for debate and so either would have been a worthy winner.  Without having visited Maxxi, the quieter poetics of Berlin won it for me, but why wasn’t Nottingham at least in the line-up if we’re talking about a contribution to British architecture?” Steve Tompkins, Haworth Tompkins

“Zaha Hadid’s Maxxi is unmistakably a big work of architecture, at least in the sense that architects conceive it. It is large, culturally important, bold, structurally audacious and undeniably the singular result of its author’s vision*; a Gesamtkunstwerk that looks better minus the addition of any kunst. Maxxi represents the good ship architecture sailing serenely through a sea of PFI detritus. Perhaps, in the end, the judges considered a reaffirmation of the eternal values of architecture more important than the localised political point of celebrating new school buildings.” Charles Holland of Fat on his blog Fantastic Journal.

The critics

“Maxxi isn’t a model for new primary schools in London. What it offers instead is an adventure in and through architecture. Criticise it all you like, but what Hadid’s latest venture in Rome does is raise the stakes for the Stirling.”  Jonathan Glancey in The Guardian.

“Despite the judge’s plaudits, it is arguable that Ms Hadid’s finest work was the Phaeno Science Centre in Wolfsburg. And whilst Berlin’s Neues Museum is undoubtedly Mr Chipperfield’s masterwork, he seems to have been precluded by having won so recently.” Edwin Heathcote in The Financial Times.

“The contrast between the British and European entries was unflattering. We had a small block of “live/work units” assisting in the gentrification of east London; a drab remodelling of the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford; two schools, as a protest against Michael Gove’s axing of the Building Schools for the Future programme; and two real contenders, neither of them realisable in the UK, David Chipperfield’s fragmented remaking of the Berlin Neues Museum, and Zaha Hadid’s monstrous, overwhelming Maxxi Museum of 21st Century Art in Rome. With their cheap PFI detailing and stylistic bet-hedging, the UK entries didn’t stand a chance.” Owen Hatherley in The Guardian.


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