Fosters’ Stirling laureate is an environmental game-changer, argues Ike Ijeh
Foster’s third Stirling Prize win is undoubtedly an unprecedented feat. No other architect has won the Stirling Prize three times before and it enables the practice to leapfrog the other two-time winners, (Zaha Hadid, Wilkinson Eyre and Richard Rogers) to something approaching lifetime achievement status.
Some may be surprised that a building with such unashamedly corporate credentials won. Like the Oscars and with few exceptions, Stirling tends to favour the quirky over the conventional (see Magna Centre) and buildings rarely come more conventional than an office block. In fact, this is only the second office block ever to have won – the first being another seminal City project by Foster & Partners, the Gherkin in 2004.
Some will begrudge the win simply because it is yet another award for an affirmed industry favourite. They might further cite it as yet another example of the sycophantic cult of insularity that renders the profession aloof and irrelevant to those outside it at the expense of both the public and those younger architects struggling to carve out a name of their own.
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