Look north: The Stirling Prize after Brexit

Tom Brooksbank

The prize’s overwhelming southern bias is symptomatic of what prompted many to vote leave, says Tom Brooksbank

The winner of this year’s Stirling Prize will be announced tomorrow night. The architect will be the 24th recipient and also – probably – the final winner of the pre-Brexit era. So this is an opportune moment to consider what the future might hold for the award as a barometer of architecture in Britain.

Since its inception in 1996 a total of 154 projects have been shortlisted for the Stirling Prize. Of these, five have been located in the Republic of Ireland, 27 in Europe and 122 in the UK. Among the UK projects there is a very clear divide between north and south. For every shortlisted project in the north of England there have been six in the south.

The cause of this divide lies outside the sphere of individual projects undertaken by individual architects. It is indicative of a framework within which the entire profession operates. And the aggregate result of this has been many more opportunities for architects to produce award-winning architecture in the south than in the north over the past 24 years.

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