2012 RIBA Stirling Prize shortlist released

The Royal Institute of British Architects unveiled the shortlist for the 2012 Stirling Prize. The shortlist features six buildings from across the UK, which will now go head to head for one of architecture's highest accolade and a $31,000 prize on Oct. 13.

Shortlisted were the London Olympic Stadium, the Maggie's Cancer Center in Glasgow, the original Hepworth Wakefield gallery in Yorkshire, the Sainsbury Laboratory for plant science in Cambridge, the New Court Rothschild Bank in London, and the Lyric Theatre on a suburban site in Belfast.

David Chipperfield Architects is the only previous RIBA Stirling Prize winner among this year's shortlisted architects, having won in 2007 for the Museum of Modern Literature in Marbach, Germany. This is the eighth time that David Chipperfield Architects has been shortlisted for the RIBA Stirling Prize, and the third year running; they now match Foster + Partners which has also been shortlisted for the prize eight times.

The London Olympic Stadium was designed by Populous, which joins the shortlist for the first time. The stadium has been designed so that it can be taken down and reused in another location, or taken apart and made smaller. The design team aimed to create the most sustainable Olympic stadium to date, reducing the amount of steel and concrete needed, making it one of the lightest stadia of the modern era. It also has a sunken arena so the ground level entrance is half-way up the stadium, thereby reducing the number of stairs spectators have to climb to the upper tiers.

The Lyric Theatre, Belfast was designed by Dublin-based O'Donnell + Tuomey, which joins the shortlist for the fourth time, with this year their second year running. Last year, their An Gaelaras cultural center in Derry was shortlisted. Among the building’s features include: an awkwardly irregular and steeply sloping site; red Belfast brick that echoes south Belfast residential landscape; and twisted seating to allow people to see each other and to save actors from performing to a symmetrically divided audience. The use of glass maximizes the presence of natural light in the public spaces and ensures view of the river.

London Olympic Stadium

Maggie's Center

Sainsbury Laboratory


Maggie's Centre, Gartnavel, Glasgow was designed by OMA, which joins the shortlist for the second time. It is the only practice to have two buildings on the 2012 shortlist; in 2007 OMA's Casa da Musica in Portugal was shortlisted. The building has a doughnut shape which allows for all the rooms to surround an internal landscaped garden. There are no corridors or isolated rooms, but a series of interlocking spaces with sliding walls to open and close areas, offering flexibility. Lily Jencks was the landscape designer on the project.

The New Court, London was designed by OMA with Allies and Morrison. This is OMA's second building on this year's shortlist; Allies and Morrison has previously been shortlisted twice for the prize. New Court is a showcase for the Rothschild art collection, aspects of which have been incorporated into the design of the building. The property’s features also include views to a Wren church by creating a pathway towards the church and sight lines from the pavement.

The Sainsbury Laboratory, Cambridge was designed by Stanton Williams, which joins the shortlist for the first time. Among its features include: Grade II listed garden that mixes the private and the public with the security and complex scientific needs of a laboratory in a public botanic garden café; and sociable spaces and smaller meeting points alongside research spaces. For environmentalism, rainwater is collected from the roof and stored in two tanks that irrigate the garden's glasshouse and plant chambers.

Hepworth Wakefield, designed by David Chipperfield Architects, is characterized by a series of 10 trapezoidal blocks that make up the structure of the gallery, giving it a sculptural appearance. The gallery sources renewable energy in the form of heating and cooling from the river's flow. The building’s concrete also has a distinctive dusky mauve color.

The 2012 RIBA Stirling Prize judges who will visit the six shortlisted buildings and meet for a final time on the day of the presentation to pick the winner are: Sir Nicholas Grimshaw (chair) – architect and former president of the Royal Academy; Sir Mark Jones – Master of St Cross College Oxford, and former director of the Victoria and Albert Museum; Joanna van Heyningen – architect, van Heyningen & Haward Architects, UK; Hilde Daem – architect, Robbrecht + Daem, Belgium and Naomi Cleaver – designer, writer and broadcaster.

Previous winners of the RIBA Stirling Prize include: Evelyn Grace Academy (2011) and MAXXI Museum, Rome (2010) both by Zaha Hadid Architects; Maggie’s Centre at Charing Cross Hospital, London by Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners (2009); Accordia housing development by Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios/Alison Brooks Architects/Macreanor Lavington (2008); The Museum of Modern Literature, Marbach am Neckar, Germany by David Chipperfield Architects (2007).

The Hepworth Wakefield

The Lyric Theater


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