Two things struck me while watching the Stirling Prize on Channel 4.
The first is the extent to which the RIBA has revived its reputation since the dark days of royal criticism, and the other is just how gloomy television architectural reporting has become.
There was much to celebrate — five glossy statements of shiny, clean modernism displayed in settings of green and blue isolation, and one low-cost wild card. Unfortunately, what we didn’t get was the buildings in use, how they work, or what they look and feel like full of people. This adds to the sense of a lack of democracy in the built environment.
The gloom of the reporting was marked. Kevin McCloud describes projects that can’t possibly work — costs spiral out of control and success hangs by a thread — until creativity triumphs over adversity. It’s dramatic licence, but it gives the impression of the building process as inscrutable and disaster-prone. The show bolsters the profession with a celebration of architecture, but it also reinforces the negatives.
Building design is a team pursuit that needs to encourage greater public engagement with the built environment. Awards like these could be used accomplish this.
Richard G Sober, Middlesbrough