Countdown to RIBA Stirling Prize 2017

Published on: 24-10-2017

Next week, architecture’s highest accolade will be awarded by the RIBA. It’s a prize for excellence; presented to “the architects of the building that has made the greatest contribution to the evolution of architecture in the past year.”

Adrem - RIBA Stirling Prize 2017

In anticipation of the occasion we thought we’d take a closer look at the six shortlisted buildings for the prestigious 2017 RIBA Stirling Prize. According to RIBA Past President Jane Duncan, “this year’s shortlisted schemes show exceptionally creative, beautifully considered and carefully detailed buildings that have made every single penny count.”

“Commissioned at the end of the recession, they are an accolade to a creative profession at the top of its game. Each of these outstanding projects has transformed their local area and delights those who are lucky enough to visit, live, study or work in them.”

Half of the shortlisted buildings are visitor destinations and include; a skilful extension by Roger Stirk Harbour + Partners for the British Museum World Conservation and Exhibitions Centre; a bold redevelopment of the Chatham Historic Dockyard with Command of the Oceans by Mitchell Architect; and a community driven restoration of Hasting Pier by dRMM Architects.

The other half vary in purpose but all respond to challenging urban sites and include; a small and delightful housing development, Barrett’s Grove by Groupwork + Amin Taha; an immense new City Campus for the City of Glasgow College by Reiach & Hall Architects and Michael Laird Architects; and a precise, highly considered Photography Studio for Juergen Teller by 6a architects.

Roger Stirk Harbour + Partners have previously won the prize twice before, first for the Barajas Airport in 2006 and then for Maggie’s Centre London in 2009. Michael Laird Architects, Reiach & Hall Architects and dRMM have all been shortlisted previously, though have never won.

A panel of judges will now visit all six projects and consider each against a range of criteria including design vision; innovation and originality; capacity to stimulate, engage and delight occupants and visitors; accessibility and sustainability; how fit the building is for its purpose and the level of client satisfaction.

A winner will then be selected and announced in a ceremony at the Roundhouse in Camden London on Tuesday October 31.

Read on for the judges’ citations of all six buildings and to see the shortlist in pictures.

Adrem - RIBA Stirling Prize 2017 copy; Barnett's Grove
Adrem – RIBA Stirling Prize 2017 copy; Barnett’s Grove

Barrett’s Grove, Stoke Newington, London by Groupwork + Amin Taha

“Barretts Grove is a characterful building in a disjointed urban street. Its adjacency to a primary school is a fitting location for a house built with the fairy-tale materials of brick, wood and straw. Inside, the building holds a series of generously proportioned, well-lit apartments; each with a wicker basket balcony that sticks out proud and far, like a salute to passers-by.”

Adrem - RIBA Stirling Prize 2017 © British Museum Extension
Adrem – RIBA Stirling Prize 2017 © British Museum Extension

The British Museum World Conservation and Exhibitions Centre by Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners

“The WCEC building is located on the north-west corner of the British Museum site in Bloomsbury. It consists of five vertically linked pavilions (one of which is located entirely underground), and houses a new exhibition gallery, laboratories and conservation studios, storage, and facilities to support the Museum’ logistical requirements and loans programme.

This building is the realisation of an extremely complicated brief in terms of spatial challenges, technical requirements, and engineering technologies. Its achievement derives from the elegant and simple way these challenges are met, while maintaining a clear and coherent diagram and a refined and rational building enclosure.”

Adrem - RIBA Stirling Prize 2017 © City of Glasgow College Campus
Adrem – RIBA Stirling Prize 2017 © City of Glasgow College Campus

City of Glasgow College – City Campus by Reiach And Hall Architects and Michael Laird Architects

“The merger of Glasgow’s central, metropolitan and nautical colleges created a super college bringing together facilities and teaching previously housed in 11 separate buildings across the city within two new central campuses. City Campus, more than 60,000 sqm in size, is the second of these large new buildings. It brings together six major faculties in 300 high-tech classrooms, multi-purpose lecture theatres and specialist teaching facilities.

While the initial impression of this building is as something of immense scale which also signals its presence as an important place of learning, its internal spaces are designed to encourage both the formal teaching processes which it contains and informal, more chance encounters. The materials palette and form of the building are deliberately restrained to generate something of skill, clarity and elegance, on the grandest scale.”

Adrem - RIBA Stirling Prize 2017 © Command of the Oceans
Adrem – RIBA Stirling Prize 2017 © Command of the Oceans

Command of the Oceans by Baynes and Mitchell Architects

“This project is a champion for progressive conservation, inventive re-use and adaptation of existing fabric. The importance of the historic fabric has been clearly understood, which has allowed freedom in other areas to change the circulation and the reading of the buildings to give the whole complex of buildings a new lease of life.

The project is academically rigorous in terms of repairs, reversibility and selection of new materials and is a delightful new addition to the historic dockyard. The project exhibits careful and critical use of appropriate repairs. Successful engagement with specialist craftsmen and sensitive repairs, such as the scarfing of the main timbers in the mast house, adds to the beauty of the refurbished spaces.”

Adrem - RIBA Stirling Prize 2017 © Hasting Pier
Adrem – RIBA Stirling Prize 2017 © Hasting Pier

Hastings Pier by dRMM Architects

“It has taken a seven-year heroic collaboration to turn a smouldering pier in disrepair and decline into a vibrant public space with a palpable sense of ownership. This collaboration has been between the community, the Council, the engineers and the architect and it is the architect’s vision which has been vital throughout to steer the process. After extensive stakeholder consultation, it was clear to dRMM that the pier would be expected to host many different populist scenarios.

From a conservation perspective, this project has reinvigorated a fire-damaged historic structure and facilitated a contemporary and appropriate new 21st century use. The project has been mindful to integrate material from the original pier in the new design, and the process of restoration was used to help train a new generation of craft specialists.”

Photography Studio for Juergen Teller by 6a architects

“The project comprises a series of three buildings and gardens to form a new studio, offices and archive for celebrated photographer Juergen Teller. The brief was for a light-filled, flexible, informal and welcoming set of spaces; with a natural flow and sociability.

The project is a mature and confident statement of orderliness and precision, whilst also being relaxed and playful. It forms a refined, yet flexible workplace, which is already beginning to act as a setting to prompt and influence on the work of its client.”

Written by: Samantha Woods