One of the nominees: The Hepworth by David Chipperfield Architects
The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) has announced the 2012 shortlist for its most prestigious award, the Stirling Prize, named after the late British architect James Stirling. The prize is awarded each year to recognize the architect who is seen by the jury to have made the biggest contribution to the evolution of architecture in the last 12 months; the prize can only go to buildings that were built or designed in the United Kingdom.
This year, the jury paired down the ‘midlist’ with around fifty nominees to the shortlist of six. Between now and early October, the jury will prune the list even further, down to one. Among the six contestants remaining are an art museum in a river, an office tower in London, a healing pavilion in Glasgow and a science laboratory in Cambridge.
The Hepworth, Wakefield. David Chipperfield Architects.
The Hepworth Wakefield, built to house the Hepworth art collection, is approached by a bridge over the River Calder. The museum fits well into its Yorkshire context, capturing the solidity and anchoredness of the surrounding industrial buildings. Though the building at times appears massive, moments of welcome and the human scale exist, as well, crafting a rich experience of dualities. From the exterior, the building appears as a random series of boxes, though the internal order is quite clear with galleries radiating from the central areas which contain the administrative program.
Images: David Chipperfield Architects via RIBA
The Lyric Theatre, Belfast. O'Donnell & Tuomey Architects.
The theater is confined to a difficult triangular site, making it strikingly angular in response. The building is anchored by three solid volumes which house the performance and practice spaces, surrounded by more open public spaces. The angular projections of the performance volumes create a presence which is both deferential and assertive, a dual quality that is also achieved on the interior through the use of distinctive faceted wood paneling in the auditorium.
Images: Dennis Gilbert
Maggie's Center, Glasgow. OMA.
As Maggie Keswick Jencks, wife of famed architecture historian Charles Jencks, was diagnosed with breast cancer, she set out to create a series of spaces where patients could feel comfortable, normal, and cared for. Various architects were assigned to the different Maggie’s Centers, though the one up for the Stirling Prize is OMA’s design, located outside the Gartnavel Hospital cancer wing in the western part of Glasgow.
The pavilion is basically a donut, transparent walls and thin partitions under a thin roof, with a completely glazed interior courtyard seen from every room. There are no long ominous hallways here; instead, a series of overlapping spaces creating many nooks and crannies for medical consultation or simple relaxation. All views out from the pavilion end up focused on an element from nature, whether trees or a grassy hillock.
Images: Philippe Ruault
New Court, London. OMA.
OMA’s new headquarters for the Rothschild Bank sits in the heart of London, among historic streets and tightly packed buildings. As such, the only way to achieve the space necessary was to go into the air. However, since the site is at such a tight and pressured crossroads of people, goods, and views, the architects decided to lift the building off the ground to allow for passage underneath. The massing above takes the form of a series of boxes stacked on top of one another, and is quite distinctive among the other components of the London skyline.
Images: Philippe Ruault via designboom
Olympic Stadium, London. Populous.
The Olympic Stadium is the third largest sporting structure in Britain, so it makes sense it would appear on the Stirling Prize Shortlist. Built to seat over 80,000 spectators, the stadium is composed of large trusses bolted together (so they can be disassembled) as well as a large canopy suspended by cables. After the stunning architectural success of the Bird’s Nest, many critics have expressed disappointment in the stadium, calling it too conventional and not at all exciting. They may have a point.
Images: LOCOG via RIBA
Sainsbury Laboratory, Cambridge. Stanton Williams.
This new botanical research laboratory at Cambridge University has it going on: a café set within a botanical garden, an extensive architectural promenade, as well as potentially expandable laboratories. Visitors to the building are taken from the entry down a sloping hall which passes through the auditorium space and the lobby. Laboratories are located above this and are sheltered from the sun by an operable façade located behind the prominent limestone pillars ringing the second floor.
Images: Stanton Williams Architects via RIBA