What a Stirling Prize !

By Jo Phillips

Yesterday the winner of the RIBA Stirling Prize 2016 was announced. Caruso St John architects has won the prestigious architecture prize with the “Newport Street Gallery” in south London. The Stirling Prize is a British prize for excellence in architecture and it is said to be architecture’s highest accolade. It is awarded annually by the Royal Institute of British Architects and is named after the architect James Stirling who won the Royal Gold Medal in 1980. The Stirling Prize is now in its twenty-first year and is judged against a variety of criteria such as design vision, innovation, capacity to stimulate and engage visitors, accessibility, level of client satisfaction and many more. The six buildings nominated for this year’s prize are listed below:

Weston Library, Oxford by Wilkinsoneyre
Built with the technically challenging requirements of protecting the precious rare documents stored within the archive, the Weston Library is a complex achievement. Designed as a building within a building, the library is a successful hybrid of old and new, history and present. The project is said to have breathed new life into to its surrounding area, not only visually but also in the way it has changed the learning experience for library-goers.


City of Glasgow College by Michael Laird Architects and Reiach and Hall Architects
The ultra-modern silhouette sat at the edge of the River Clyde is a clean creation that emphasises practicality for its students and teachers. Acting as a gateway in the city, the Riverside Campus both provides a comfortable place for student life and engages with surrounding society. Orientation around the buildings is easy and efficient, allowing for cross discipline learning and perfect for new visitors.


Blavatnik School of Government by Herzog & de Meuron:
The school’s aim is to improve, inform and support better public policy and government all around the world. The building is designed in a precise geometric form which allows its important historic neighbourhoods to maintain their presence. It strongly differs from the urban and intellectual structures around it, but it features subtle references. The visitors are able to engage at all levels as the building includes offset balconies and wide twisting staircases.


Outhouse by Loyn & Co Architects:
Located on a fabulous sloping site, the design of this building exploits the site potential to the fullest. The house stands out through its simplicity and the field on top of it. The glass fronted living space on the downhill side takes advantage of the spectacular view.


Trafalgar Place- Elephant and Castle by Drmm Architects:
This building comprises 235 high-quality homes and is integrated within a vibrant landscape and nature. It transforms the existing environment while remaining references to the historic fabric of the neighbourhood. One of the key aspects of the construction is public space and it therefore blurs the boundaries between the public realm and private development.


Newport Street Gallery by Caruso St John Architects:
This year’s winning building forms the whole length of the street and is a very bold and confident project where old and new are combined. The architects transformed a street facing a railway line in Vauxhall into a free public gallery for artist Damien Hirst’s private art collection. Three Victorian industrial buildings have been remodelled for this project and the new additions are made of hard pale red bricks to closely reference the original buildings. Unique features of the building are the fletton-like bricks, recalling the raw backstage of London buildings, and the twisting of the familiar. This collection of five buildings is pulled together by the forthright brick treatment which makes them beautifully crafted yet expressive of their individuality. The judges commented that “the gallery, which is free of charge, is a generous asset to an evolving community” and RIBA President Jane Duncan said that “Caruso St John have created a stunningly versatile space from a number of linked buildings, with beautifully crafted staircases and superb details including tactile brick facades that blend the street externally and create a succession of wonderful gallery spaces”. 


The jury of this year’s Stirling Prize consists of the following five judges:

Patrik Schumacher:
In 1988, he joined Zaha Hadid Architects and he is the senior office partner and designer of the practice as well as partner to several other projects. Furthermore, Schumacher is a co-director of the Design Research Laboratory at the Architectural Association School of Architecture and together with Zaha Hadid, he taught at the University of Illinois – Chicago, Yale, Columbia and at the Graduate School of Design at Harvard University.

Pauk Monaghan:
He co-founded the architecture practice Allford Hall Monaghan Morris in 1989 and since then, his works feature outstanding design, collaborative creativity, applied technology and sustainability. Mohan won many national and international awards for his projects and some of his current works include the Television Centre masterplan and the new Scotland Yard for the Metropolitan Police. He even led the work on three Stirling Prize nominated buildings and is a visiting professor at the Bartlett and Sheffield schools of architecture.

Roisin Heneghan:
She is one of the leaders of heneghan peng architects and was twice nominated for the Stirling Prize. Her works include Grand Egyptian Museum, Palestinian Museum, Giant’s Causeway Visitors’ Centre, Central Park Bridges at the London Olympic Park, School of Architecture at the University of Greenwich and Canadian Canoe Museum.

Michael Hussey:
He is a Fellow of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors and created many landmarks schemes in Central London over the past 20 years. Furthermore, he was an Executive Board Director at Land Securities plc, the largest property company in the UK for over seven years.

Rachel Whiteread:
She is one of the leading contemporary sculptors in Britain and won the Turner Prize in 1993. Over the last decade, she created major public works in Europe and the United States and developed international reputation.

The celebration of the Stirling Prize 2016 will be hosted by the acclaimed writer and performer Meera Syal and will reveal the winner of this year’s prize.

For further information, visit their website here.


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