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Wednesday23 July 2014

In pictures: who should win the Stirling Prize 2013?

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View the shortlisted buildings, find out who the bookies’ favourite is and vote for your choice to win the Oscars of architecture

Giant’s Causeway Visitor Centre, Northern Ireland by Heneghan Peng Architects. William Hill odds: 3/1

What the RIBA said:

“Breaks the mould of the traditional visitor centre that tends to hide from the limelight or make a statement, this highly imaginative and sculptural piece of ‘land art’ offers visitors an experience that is physical and interactive, like the causeway itself. Having ‘tuned in’ so perfectly to the environment, the visitor centre acts as the perfect prologue for the main event.”

BD’s take:

The project is deftly integrated into a landscape of international significance. Determinedly non-demonstrative, it buries the brief beneath a series of grassed ramps, the side faces of which are a series of closely packed piers in the same black basalt in which the Causeway itself is structured.

 

Giant's Causeway visitor centre by Heneghan Peng Architects

Source: Hufton + Crow

Giant’s Causeway visitor centre by Heneghan Peng Architects

Giant's Causeway visitor centre by Heneghan Peng Architects

Source: Hufton + Crow

Giant’s Causeway visitor centre by Heneghan Peng Architects

Giant's Causeway visitor centre by Heneghan Peng Architects

Source: Marie-Louise Halfpenny

Giant’s Causeway visitor centre by Heneghan Peng Architects

 

Park Hill Phase 1, Sheffield by Hawkins\Brown with Studio Egret West. William Hill odds: 9/1

What the RIBA said:

Reinvention of the loved and loathed grade II* listed 1960s housing estate. The structure of the building remained in place whilst key features were changed – interior layout, windows, security and much more. It stands as a beacon for imaginative regeneration, quality mass housing and the bold reuse of a listed building.

BD’s take:

Happily this year the shortlist found space for a housing project in the shape of Urban Splash’s remodelling of Jack Lynn and Ivor Smith’s heroic development of 1957-61. The project has won the original architect’s approval but is not without its critics. The scheme nonetheless makes an important contribution to the discussion about the preservation and renewal of Britain’s post-war housing.

Park Hill, Sheffield by Hawkins/Brown and Studio Egret West

Source: Daniel Hopkinson

Park Hill, Sheffield by Hawkins/Brown and Studio Egret West

Park Hill, Sheffield by Hawkins/Brown and Studio Egret West

Source: Daniel Hopkinson

Park Hill, Sheffield by Hawkins/Brown and Studio Egret West

Park Hill, Sheffield by Hawkins/Brown and Studio Egret West

Source: Daniel Hopkinson

Park Hill, Sheffield by Hawkins/Brown and Studio Egret West

 

Newhall Be, Harlow by Alison Brooks Architects. William Hill odds: 3/1

What the RIBA said:
The radical rethinking of the shape and interior of the UK house is tackled masterfully with these 84 new homes in suburban Essex that clearly illustrate that good design quality and committed developers can transform peoples’ lives. A new model for British housing?

BD’s take:

During the Stirling Prize’s history only two housing schemes have previously been deemed worthy of shortlisting. One was the 2008 winner, Accordia — part designed by Alison Brooks Architects and a high-end development in which Brooks’ villas were marketed at sums of over £1 million. As an exemplary project designed for the volume market, Newhall Be arguably represents the more significant contribution to the culture of housing provision in the UK. That will certainly stand in its favour with the judges and makes it a strong favourite for the award.

Newhall Be, Harlow, Essex by Alison Brooks Architects

Source: Paul Riddle

Newhall Be, Harlow, Essex by Alison Brooks Architects

Newhall Be, Harlow, Essex by Alison Brooks Architects

Source: Paul Riddle

Newhall Be, Harlow, Essex by Alison Brooks Architects

Newhall Be, Harlow, Essex by Alison Brooks Architects

Source: Paul Riddle

Newhall Be, Harlow, Essex by Alison Brooks Architects

 

Astley Castle, Warwickshire by Witherford Watson Mann Architects. William Hill odds: 6/1

What the RIBA said:

“Beautiful contemporary Landmark Trust holiday home installed in the ruined walls of a 12th century manor. Unique example of the recovery of an ancient building – it is a prototype for a bold new attitude to restoration and reuse.”

BD’s take:

This milestone project is the most radically conceived entry on the shortlist and boasts craftsmanship that only Niall McLaughlin’s building can match. Whether a Stirling jury is prepared to give the award to a refurbishment project is another matter.

Astley Castle, Nuneaton, Warwickshire by Witherford Watson Mann

Source: Hélène Binet

Astley Castle, Nuneaton, Warwickshire by Witherford Watson Mann

Astley Castle, Nuneaton, Warwickshire by Witherford Watson Mann

Source: Hélène Binet

Astley Castle, Nuneaton, Warwickshire by Witherford Watson Mann

 

University of Limerick Medical School by Grafton Architects. William Hill odds: 6/1

What the RIBA said:

“Exceptional example of how to create a vibrant new public space through the careful design and placement of buildings. High-quality, beautiful and dramatic buildings that punch far above their rock-bottom budget.”

BD’s take:

Overcoming a lamentable masterplan by BDP, Grafton’s handsome and robustly detailed ensemble brings a much-needed urbanity. The scheme is one of a number on the shortlist that owe a debt to the complex geometries pioneered by the likes of Zaha Hadid but marry that interest to a concern with history.

University of Limerick by Grafton Architects

Source: Dennis Gilbert/View

University of Limerick by Grafton Architects

University of Limerick by Grafton Architects

Source: Dennis Gilbert/View

University of Limerick by Grafton Architects

University of Limerick Medical School by Grafton Architects

Source: Dennis Gilbert/View

University of Limerick Medical School by Grafton Architects

 

Bishop Edward King Chapel, Oxfordshire by Niall McLaughlin Architects. William Hill odds:  9/4

What the RIBA said:

“An uplifting spiritual space of great potency that the client has described as ‘what we dreamed of but didn’t think we would get’. An incredible showcase for modern British craftsmanship.”

BD’s take:
Among the most significant works of ecclesiastical architecture realised in Britain in 50 years, this chapel in the grounds of a theological college is the product of a richly poetic symbolic programme. Offering ample evidence of its architect’s mastery of the art of construction, it must rank among this year’s front-runners. However, the jury may yet feel the award should go to a building engaged with more worldly concerns.

Bishop Edward King Chapel by Niall McLaughlin Architects

Bishop Edward King Chapel by Niall McLaughlin Architects

Bishop Edward King Chapel by Niall McLaughlin Architects

Bishop Edward King Chapel by Niall McLaughlin Architects

Bishop Edward King Chapel by Niall McLaughlin Architects

Bishop Edward King Chapel by Niall McLaughlin Architects

Bishop Edward King Chapel by Niall McLaughlin Architects

Bishop Edward King Chapel by Niall McLaughlin Architects

 

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Readers' comments (16)

  • Is this really what the best of British architecture has to offer? Deary me, some nicely crafted pieces of work but seriously what will be submitted next year, dining room extensions and loft conversions? Steady decline of Stirling prize which now equates to RIBA regional design awards, methinks.

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  • @ Russell. Well said, what a dreary lot of 60s retro stuff- but the Bishop Edward King Chapel is the clear exception and the only thing worth a prize.

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  • bishop

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  • the 'ip' house should win

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  • Pathetic, derisory comments above. It's the most interesting Stirling shortlist years in my view.

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  • Beautiful and seductive though McLaughlin's chapel is, (and damn, it is very, very beautiful), my vote would go to the Giant's Causeway - It also delivers a thoughtful, sculptural form, but to a much wider, worldly audience and meets a more demanding operational brief.

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  • @ Russell and Austin - Heritage, housing, education and sensitive/intelligent reuse of existing/historic structures - Doesn't the prize shortlist simply reflect current preoccupations in the UK, and the real work opportunities for architects it presents? There's some good work here - Even if it isn't all on the same scale as previous years. Better this than a roll call of the usual suspects with their repetitive 'icons'.

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  • @ The Librarian- good point.

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  • As expected, sulky comments from the less accomplished architectural professionals who could never dream of being nominated.

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  • More to the point, who's on the jury? I can only find Stephen Hodder, Sheila O’Donnell, Tom Dyckhoff, Paul Williams and the "philanthropist" (i.e. the rich, powerful and scary) Vivien Duffield.

    Who else?

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