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Daveybot 14th Sep 2006 17:27

RIBA Stirling Prize 2006
 
I've largely avoided bringing architecture (and Architecture) into the Palimp so far - mostly because I simply don't have time to write about it properly most of the time. Well, give a man a free morning...

Stirling Prize 2006

How rates the collective Palimp the six nominees for this year's RIBA Stirling Prize? It's still a fairly new award, really, but it seems that most men on the Clapham omnibus have actually heard of it. Supposedly it's awarded by the RIBA to the British-based architect who's completed the finest building of the year.

Now this is of course impossible. One simply cannot adequately compare a national assembly building to a kitchen extension and come out with a simple definition of which is best. However, they manage to get by with the Turner and other largely-objective Prizes all right, and the hefty prize money and TV presence of the award ceremony means that it has indeed, to some degree, raised the profile of contemporary British architecture in the eyes of Normal People.*

...And of course this is the whole point of the prize. We can't say that one building is the 'best' of the year, and that's why the Stirling Prize is so new. The RIBA has been handing out RIBA awards for ages - The practice I work for has thirteen or so: w00t! Boast! Brag! - but an hour-long show telling us about the 'hundred-and-something buildings or so that we quite like this year' doesn't have the same gameshow feeling as a knock-out tournament between only half a dozen. Easier for us all to get excited over six buildings than swamped by hundreds. Also I cynically feel that letting the public know that there were thousands of new buildings going up every year would only upset them anyway.

And so we are left with a shortlist of six nominees...
New Area Terminal at Barajas Airport in Madrid, Spain
Richard Rogers Partnership

http://www.architecture.com/imageLib...g330/11349.jpg

Brick House, London
Caruso St John Architects

http://www.architecture.com/imageLib...g330/11314.jpg

Evelina Children's Hospital, London
Hopkins Architects

http://www.architecture.com/imageLib...g330/11309.jpg

Idea Store Whitechapel, London
Adjaye/Associates

http://www.architecture.com/imageLib...g330/11298.jpg

National Assembly for Wales, Cardiff
Richard Rogers Partnership

http://www.architecture.com/imageLib...g330/11336.jpg

Phaeno Science Centre, Wolfsburg, Germany
Zaha Hadid Architects

http://www.architecture.com/imageLib...g330/11346.jpg
Now the first thing that's worthy of mention if you ask me is that Rogers is in there twice. Good on him, I say. For a man who spends most of his time pleading with John Prescott to not make horrific mistakes when developing the Thames Gateway (Rogers has been largely ignored, unfortunately) it's quite amazing to see his practice come out with two such enormous and complex buildings in one year. I've often felt that Rogers has been largely forgotten by the public since the Lloyds building all those years ago, and I must confess that I'd love to see hime win this year. Two nominations is certainly a victory of sorts anyway, but I'd love to see that airport take the prize home. I just love the colours.

Mind you, of course, it would send a good political message if the childrens hospital were to win. Or the new Welsh Assembly, perhaps. I mean, the Scottish Parliament swept the board last year - wouldn't it be unfair if the Welsh didn't get the same treatment?

As far as the others are concerned, ahh, I just can't tell from looking at the photos. I'd need to go see them. I've often expected that Zaha Hadid's buildings are genuinely more exciting than I'd like to admit, and I expect that David Adjaye's stuff has a good deal more class than I expect when I see the photos - though of course one has to carefully ignore his nomination's ludicrous name. An Idea Store? Please. As for the Brick House? Tricky. It looks lovely, of course, but is it really possible to compare it fairly with something as enormous as an airport?

Anyway, I for one would be interested in knowing what the Palimp would vote for. And if they wouldn't vote for one of these, what would they vote for? Any Palimp overlords feel like making a poll? Having slogged all this out I'm frankly in need of a cup of tea.

Here's a link to the RIBA page, from which all these photos are snatched, a nice little Guardian preview by Jonathan Glancey, and finally a poll at one of my favourite architecture blogs Part IV.


*Everyone who isn't an architect, presumably. Also known as the Great Unwashed / Common Folk / and Poor Huddled Masses.

Digger 14th Sep 2006 17:48

Re: RIBA Stirling Prize 2006
 
I like the new National Assembly, but also R. Roger's rainbow airport - but I need to watch their ever so helpful Stirling digest where they show them all and have a usually quite interesting group of people discuss and decide. One picture is not enough.

Daveybot 14th Sep 2006 18:30

Re: RIBA Stirling Prize 2006
 
Ah yes - I guess we don't all read architectural mags every week! Well, coverage is on its way, I'm sure.

Oryx 14th Sep 2006 18:46

Re: RIBA Stirling Prize 2006
 
I'd love to see more shots of Brick House- it looks very interesting. Also, it looks to be the only residential piece nominated-I'm assuming it's a private home, anyway.

rick green 15th Sep 2006 5:11

Re: RIBA Stirling Prize 2006
 
Can't much from just these picks, but the big, glassy box looks nice to me. I'm not too keen on the one that looks like the droid traders' ship from "Star Wars."

gil 18th Sep 2006 10:17

Re: RIBA Stirling Prize 2006
 
They are all a bit ghastly to me, although I like the upside-down battleship a bit, and I have to confess that Rogers' airport is nice and engineery.

Daveybot 18th Sep 2006 11:59

Re: RIBA Stirling Prize 2006
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by gil (Post 42785)
They are all a bit ghastly to me, although I like the upside-down battleship a bit, and I have to confess that Rogers' airport is nice and engineery.

Yeah, there are some things which just have to look engineery or at least vaguely technical, and airports are probably top of that list. I mean, a deconstructivist airport would just be too confusing, and what would a 'traditional' airport even look like?*

And I also liked the lift-shafts in the hospital. Great big heavy bits of bright-orange steel in an otherwise clear bright space. Lovely. I just hope that daylight is prevalent throughout that hospital, and it's not just a shiny atrium good for photographs while dingy dark corridors and windowless rooms reign supreme in the bits where medical things actually happen. I'd need to see some plans and sections to work that out and I can't find any at the moment.

*And while we're at it, why don't the British call airports aeroports?

Daveybot 6th Oct 2006 15:39

Re: RIBA Stirling Prize 2006
 
Okay then! Anyone been watching the little post-channel 4 news slots about these nominees? They're up on the channel 4 website now too. Link.

I gotta say, the Brick House is really growing on me...

rick green 6th Oct 2006 16:52

Re: RIBA Stirling Prize 2006
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Daveybot (Post 42812)
And I also liked the lift-shafts in the hospital. Great big heavy bits of bright-orange steel in an otherwise clear bright space. Lovely. I just hope that daylight is prevalent throughout that hospital, and it's not just a shiny atrium good for photographs while dingy dark corridors and windowless rooms reign supreme in the bits where medical things actually happen. I'd need to see some plans and sections to work that out and I can't find any at the moment.

From the pictures it looks like there is a lot of light. Of course the photographer could have simply focused on the parts of the building that get the light. Even so, this looks like as cheery a place one could hope for when staying at hospital. It gets my vote.
Second place to the airport.
The brick house is my least favorite. Not a very homey atmosphere there. Imagine growing up in that house. Ugh. Feng Shui Bu Hao.
My early pick, the idea store, proved to be rather uninteresting apart from it's pleasant glass walls.

John Self 6th Oct 2006 17:00

Re: RIBA Stirling Prize 2006
 
I've added a poll. Vote now!

Judging from this picture, the Evelina Children's Hospital does manage to keep the light flowing throughout...

http://www.evelinaappeal.org/images/patient.jpg

Some more nice pics on this page.


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