Richard Rogers takes architecture's top prize for the second time
Richard Rogers’ Maggie's Centre in west London has been awarded the RIBA Stirling Prize for 2009, announced at a televised ceremony on Saturday. From a shortlist of six, Rogers' design won the £20,000 prize making this the second time his practice has achieved what is considered to be one of the most prestigious architecture prizes. Rogers’ Barajas Airport in Spain scooped the top spot in 2006.
The Maggie’s Centre is one of several ground-breaking centres across the UK designed to give premium care and support to cancer sufferers and their families. Maggie's is the brainchild and legacy of Maggie Keswick Jencks, writer, landscape designer and late wife of architect Charles Jencks. In her final 18 months before she died from breast cancer, Maggie, holding a profound belief that architecture and environment can affect the way you feel, developed plans for a centre near where she was being treated. Rogers’ design brief therefore was to adhere to this legacy by creating ‘an immediate sense of welcome, serenity and even love on a frantic Hammersmith thoroughfare and in the shadow of a dauntingly huge NHS hospital’.
Conceived as a two-storey pavilion, the centre’s positive spirit is signalled with a bold roof canopy that hovers high above the walls to sail protectively over a series of intimate internal gardens, courtyards and roof terraces. A deep orange rendered wall puts a protective arm around it, making it a place apart without denying it is a part of the city. This antithesis of a hospital provides an open house in the city.
Two of Rogers’ projects were shortlisted for the prize. His Bodegas Protos 1 project in Spain joined Eric Parry Architects’ 5 Aldermanbury Square, Tony Fretton Architects Fuglsang Kunstmuseum, Allford Hall Monaghan Morris’ Kentish Town Health Centre and BDP’s Liverpool One Masterplan on the list.
The winner of the prize was announced live on UK television, presented by architectural television presenter Kevin McCloud. RIBA President Ruth Reed said on the evening: “The shortlist for this year’s RIBA Stirling Prize was of an exceptionally high standard, and I would like to congratulate each of the shortlisted entries. In the Maggie's Centre we have a much deserved winner, and I am delighted to award Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners with architecture’s highest accolade.”
The winners of the RIBA Special Awards were also announced and presented at the ceremony: Gap House in London by Pitman Tozer won the Manser Medal for the best one-off house or housing scheme designed by an architect in the UK.; El Ray, a private house in Kent, by Simon Conder Associates won the Stephen Lawrence Prize for the best example of a building with a construction budget of less than £1 million; Castleford Bridge in Yorkshire by McDowell and Benedetti won the RIBA CABE Public Space Award, which celebrates publicly accessible external space; The Midland Hotel in Morecambe won The Crown Estate Conservation Award for the best work of conservation which demonstrates successful restoration or adaptation of an architecturally significant building; Minster School in Southwell, Nottinghamshire by Penoyre & Prasad won the RIBA Sorrell Foundation Schools Award, presented to the architects of the best RIBA award-winning school - primary or secondary - with the aim of raising the standards of design in all new school building; and the RIBA Client of the Year 2009 award, which recognises the extraordinarily high standard of this year’s shortlist and the different skills involved in architectural patronage, was presented to all six shortlisted entries. Peter Sharpe on behalf of the Kielder Partnership, for the Kielder Observatory in Northumberland by Charles Barclay Architects; Dr Roy Macgregor on behalf of Camden & Islington Community Solutions, for the Kentish Town Health Centre in London by Allford Hall Monaghan Morris; Peter Millican on behalf of Parabola Land, for Kings Place in London by Dixon Jones; Rod Holmes on behalf of Grosvenor, for the Liverpool One Masterplan, Liverpool by BDP; Laura Lee on behalf of Maggie's, for Maggie's Centre, London by Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners; amd Rev Nicholas Holtam for St Martin-in-the-Fields, London by Eric Parry Architects and Caroe & Partners (Conservation Architect).