2014 Stirling Prize Shortlist

Thursday 17 Jul 2014

London schemes dominate as RIBA releases shortlist for 2014 Stirling Prize

The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) has released details of this year's Stirling Prize Shortlist. The Stirling Prize is presented annually to the architects of the building that has made the greatest contribution to British architecture in the past year. 

Speaking about the shortlist Stephen Hodder, RIBA President and the first ever winner of the RIBA Stirling Prize (1996), said: "This RIBA Stirling Prize shortlist is sending out the clear message that great buildings don’t only need great architects and clients but they need the patronage of the community they have been designed to serve if they are to be truly successful."

Library of Birmingham, Birmingham (Mecanoo Architecten)

The Library of Birmingham by Mecanoo has had a dramatic impact on city, both visually and in changing the perception of the traditional library space. Composed as a series of interlocking volumes overlaid with an intricate filigree screen, the Library of Birmingham reflects the heritage of the city’s Jewellery Quarter, casting complex shadows across walls and floors.

Users are invited to view their experience within the library as a journey, exploring the ‘Harry Potter rotunda’ and ‘Willy Wonka glass lift’ as they move through the space. Natural light filters in through gaps in the interlocking volumes and elevated landscaped gardens on the upper floors provide quite spaces for visitors to enjoy the literary collection.

Architect: Mecanoo Architecten
Client: Birmingham City Council

Contractor: Carillion Building West Midlands
Structural Engineer: Buro Happold

Services Engineer: Buro Happold
Cost: £186,000,000

London Aquatics Centre, London (Zaha Hadid Architects)

One of the first elements visitors will encounter when they enter the London Olympic Park (now renamed the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park) via the Stratford City Bridge, the Zaha Hadid Architects-designed London Aquatics Centre has been a media favourite since renderings were released back in 2008. The fluid form provided additional seating during the London Olympic Games by incorporating two temporary ‘wings’, which have since been removed and the space opened for public use.

The building is composed of three main elements: a cast in-situ concrete podium; a wide-spanning steel roof, encased in timbre louvres on its underbelly and aluminium cladding, with standing seams on top; and glazed infill between the two, with bronze-coloured aluminium frames. The complex sits on a challenging site, bounded to the east by the main railway line and to the west by the Waterworks River. Underground power lines run the length of the site underneath the centre, providing further challenges for the design team.

Architect: Zaha Hadid Architects
Client: Locog/Oda

Contractor: Balfour Beatty
Structural Engineers: Ove Arup & Partners

Services Engineer: Ove Arup & Partners

Everyman Theatre, Liverpool (Haworth Tompkins)

The 2014 WAN Performing Spaces Award-winning Everyman Theatre by Haworth Tompkins is a modern development with the air of a traditional form, striking a balance between contemporary comforts and preservation of a much-loved cultural asset. The original theatre was outdated for modern productions, having been converted from a 19th-century chapel.

Haworth Tomkins designed a new building for the site but ensured that the existing form was dismantled and the bricks preserved to be used within the construction of the new volume. Attention to detail was key in this project, and the team has been praised for matching the quality of the backstage and ancillary spaces with the front of house. The etched metal brises soleil featuring full-length images of local people has also been well-received.                                                            

Architect: Haworth Tompkins 
Client: Liverpool and Merseyside Theatres Trust

Contractor: Gilbert-Ash
Theatre Consultant: Charcoalblue
Structural Engineer: Alan Baxter & Associates
Services Engineer: Watermans Building Services
Cost: £13,300,000 

London School of Economics Saw Swee Hock Student Centre, London (O’Donnell + Tuomey Architects)

O’Donnell + Tuomey Architects’ London School of Economics Saw Swee Hock Student Centre is nestled into a modestly-sized site with numerous constraints, challenging the design team to think outside the box. The resulting form is an unusual amalgamation of angles and edges, carefully sculpted into a memorable volume that respects its neighbouring forms. Each angle has been shaved in response to the rights to light of nearby buildings.

The bold form has been constructed using 175,000 red bricks and not a single cut brick can be found throughout the entire project. Perforated sections allow natural light to filter in and the team selected jatoba - a self-finished Brazilian hardwood - for the windows which gather verticals next to larger panes. Internally, a generously-sized staircase winds upwards, encouraging social interaction between students and tutors.

Architect: O’Donnell + Tuomey Architects
Client: London School of Economics and Political Science - Estates Division

Contractor: Geoffrey Osborne
Structural Engineer: Horganlynch Consulting Engineers
Services Engineer: BDSP (company has since merged as Chapman BDSP)
Cost: £24,115,600

The Shard, London (Renzo Piano Building Workshop)

Constructed on a small plot next to one of London’s busiest transport hubs (London Bridge Station), Renzo Piano Building Workshop’s The Shard has become one of the city’s most talked about architectural developments of late. The 308m-high tower meets the split ground level with an open plaza and tapers gently to a jagged peak, left open to the elements in a public observation deck.

The largest floor plates are taken up by office units leaving the more modestly-sized levels with optimum views across the city for hotels and private residences. The Shard also incorporates a health clinic, restaurants and a viewing gallery in an effort to create a so-called ‘vertical city’. In total, the tower offers 1.2 million sq ft of accommodation.

Architect: Renzo Piano Building Workshop
Client: London Bridge Quarter
Contractor: Mace
Structural Engineer: WSP Cantor Seinuk

Services Engineer: Arup

Manchester School of Art, Manchester (Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios)

Feilden Clegg Bradley Studio’s concept for the Manchester School of Art includes the refurbishment of an existing 1960s tower and the construction of a new extension building. The aim of the project was to encourage cross-disciplinary communication and collaboration by making each department visible to other building users, breaking down the traditional form of an educational structure.

Continuing this non-linear train of thought, the design team created a 7-storey vertical gallery space for students to display their work as they travel upwards using the statement staircases. Situated behind this expression is a ‘design shed’ with open studios, workshops and teaching spaces. High levels of glazing enable passers-by to gaze inwards at the students’ work in progress. 

Architect: Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios
Client: Manchester Metropolitan University
Contractor: Morgan Sindall
Structural Engineer: Arup
M&E Consultant: Turner & Townsend 
Cost: £23,600,000

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