The shortlist for the prestigious 2012 RIBA Stirling Prize celebrates the best of new British architecture. The list features six exceptional and completely different buildings from across the UK. The shortlisted buildings will be judged on a range of criteria including; design vision, innovation and originality, accessibility and sustainability, how fit the building is for purpose and the level of client satisfaction.
The list includes; the seemingly simple yet highly innovative London Olympic Stadium, the thoughtful and intimate Maggie’s Cancer Centre in Glasgow, the stunningly original Hepworth Wakefield gallery in Yorkshire, the beautifully detailed and rule-breaking Sainsbury Laboratory for plant science in Cambridge, the New Court Rothschild Bank in London that rises high whilst opening new views at street level, and the crafted and careful reincarnation of the Lyric Theatre on a small suburban site in Belfast. All are in the running for the 2012 RIBA Stirling Prize.
LONDON OLYMPIC STADIUM
The stadium has been designed so that it can be taken down and reused in another location – or taken apart and made smaller.
The design team aimed to create the most sustainable Olympic stadium to date, reducing the amount of steel and concrete needed, making it one of the lightest stadia of the modern era.
The stadium is surrounded by water, so once visitors have shown their ticket and crossed the bridge they are more free to move around than at most stadiums.
THE HEPWORTH WAKEFIELD
Architects: David Chipperfield
The gallery sources renewable energy in the form of heating and cooling from the river’s flow. Being at the head of the river divide, two sides of gallery are river facing. The gallery rises straight from the river and the whole building is reflected in the water.
The Hepworth Wakefield is characterized by a series of 10 small, irregular, trapezoidal blocks that make up the structure of the gallery, giving it a sculptural appearance, in reference to its contents.
From the outside, the gallery is interesting to look at from any angle with the smaller blocks complementing the scale and form of the existing industrial buildings on the site.
THE LYRIC THEATRE
Architects: O’Donnell + Tuomey
The extensive use of glass maximises the presence of natural light in the public spaces and ensures that the magnificent view of the river can be enjoyed to its full potential.
The distinctive red ‘Belfast brick’ echoes the existing south Belfast residential landscape.
The architects have created an exceptional auditorium – aiming for the seating to be twisted ‘like the crease of a hand’ so that people can see each other and to save actors from performing to a symmetrically divided audience. The auditorium has a sculptural interior with incredible acoustics.
The building succeeds in the central aim of all Maggie’s Centres – to create an environment of practical and emotional support for people with cancer.
The distinctive ‘doughnut’ shape of the centre allows for all the rooms to surround an internal landscaped garden.
Located in a natural setting, like a pavilion in the woods, the building looks both out to the woods and into the garden.
There are no corridors or isolated rooms, but a series of interlocking spaces with a clever use of sliding walls to open and close areas, offering flexibility.
Architects: OMA with Allies and Morrison
The new building opens up views to a Wren church by cleverly creating a pathway towards the church and generous sight lines from the pavement.
The architects have created a synthesis between an office and a museum. New Court is a showcase for the Rothschild art collection, aspects of which have been carefully incorporated into the design of the building.
The building has a superb attention to detail; the materials used create a strong sense of understated elegance.
Architects: Stanton Williams
The laboratory is carefully designed to complement its setting in the surrounding 19th century, Grade II listed garden. It is a highly energy efficient building – rainwater is collected from the roof and stored in two huge tanks which irrigate the garden’s glasshouse and plant chambers.
It mixes the private and the public – the security and complex scientific needs of a laboratory with a public botanic garden café.
The architects have created a stimulating working environment to attract world-class scientists, including sociable spaces and smaller meeting points alongside research spaces.
The winner will be announced at a ceremony in Manchester on 13 October. For detailed information about the RIBA Stirling Prize and its history, go to www.architecture.com/ribastirlingprize