Check Out the Buildings Vying for This Year’s Stirling Prize


The shortlist for the prestigious annual RIBA Stirling Prize — which is like the Booker or the Turner, but for British architects — has been announced, and as Rowan Moore at the Guardian points out, the nominated buildings — which include a theatre, a stadium, a cancer center, a laboratory, a bank office, and an art gallery — are all “works that avoid the sugar rush of instant spectacle and which, by holding back a little, help you better experience the arts, drama, landscape or sport in and around them.” Which is not to say that they’re boring, but might explain why Zaha Hadid’s over-the-top, winged Olympic Aquatic Centre didn’t make the cut even though she’s taken home the prize for the past two years running. If you’re in the mood for some lovely (if understated!) visuals, click through to peep the six buildings that will be duking it out come October 13th for bragging rights and a £20,000 purse.

The Hepworth, Wakefield – Designed by David Chipperfield Architects

Photo credit: Iwan Baan

This waterfront art gallery designed by 2007 Stirling Prize winner David Chipperfield is named for sculptor Barbara Hepworth and has the distinction of being the “largest purpose-built space” for art in the UK.

Olympic Stadium in London – Designed by Populous

Photo credit: LOCOG

Some have deemed this design too simple and plain, but according to the judges: “There is a spirit of fun — they have designed a space to create an amazing atmosphere, where every seat has a great view.”

Lyric Theatre, Belfast – Designed by O’Donnell & Tuomey

Photo credit: © Dennis Gilbert

Moore calls this “a beautifully considered and well-made theatre,” and explains that “the design is about progressing from the city outside through the foyers and bars to the performance space at the heart of the building, with views to a river and greenery.”

Maggie’s Centre, Glasgow – Designed by OMA

Photo credit: Philippe Ruault

The first of two buildings that OMA has on this year’s shortlist, this cancer recovery center was conceived by architecture critic Charles Jencks and his wife, Maggie Keswick, who died of the disease. Notably, it’s Rem Koolhaas’ first completed British building. “This may not only be architecture for cancer, but for the whole issue of aging and dying,” he said at the press preview. “Addressing that both frankly and generously is more and more crucial.”

New Court, Rothschild Bank, London — Designed by OMA with Allies & Morrison

Photo credit: Philippe Ruault

Meanwhile, Koolhaas’ first completed building in London is the fourth iteration of NM Rothschild & Sons’ headquarters, which has stood on the same location since 1809.

The Sainsbury Laboratory, Cambridge Designed by Stanton Williams

Photo credit: Stanton Williams

An energy efficient and eye-catching place for leading scientists to hang out, set within Cambridge University Botanical Gardens.