The verdict: Ike Ijeh on the 2018 Stirling shortlist

Sultan Nazrin Shah Centre_Worcester College_Oxford by Niall McLaughlin Architects_pic Nick Kane (2)

BD’s architecture critic hails the least urban shortlist in years

Thankfully, this year’s Stirling shortlist makes for less frustrating reading than last year’s. It contains a real mix of scales and building types with the six nominations by and large spanning six different sectors, half of which – a cemetery, community centre and student housing – have never featured before. Stirling veterans Foster & Partners has garnered its record-breaking 10th nomination and its first since Dresden Station was shortlisted 11 years ago. Its shortlisted Bloomberg Building also marks Stirling’s first office finalist since Renzo Piano’s Shard in 2014.

While that year’s impressive haul of inspirational civic architecture makes it the best shortlist of recent years, this year’s offers genuine variety, quality and interest and provides some of the star quality recent years have lacked. Also, with at least four of the shortlisted buildings expressing themselves as minimalist, low-slung masonry pavilions nestling in the landscape and a fifth quite literally built into a cliff-face, this year’s finalists offer a distinctly picturesque feel and represent one of the least urban Stirling shortlists in years.

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