|A skylight and bench seat inside the Maggie's Centre in Glasgow, Scotland, designed by OMA, one of the six projects shortlisted for the 2012 Stirling Prize. Photo: Philippe Ruault.|
The 2012 RIBA Stirling Prize judges will visit the six shortlisted buildings and meet for a final time on the day of the presentation (13 October) to pick the winner.
The six buildings now competing for this year's title are the Hepworth Wakefile museum, the London Olympic Stadium, the Lyric Theatre, Maggie's Centre in Glasgow, New Court, London, and the Sainsbury Laboratory in Cambridge.
The Hepworth Wakefield, Yorkshire by David Chipperfield Architects
|The Hepworth Wakefield art museum, in Wakefield, England, by David Chipperfield Architects. Photo: Hufton+Crow|
What appears to be a fairly random set of boxes in plan soon reveals its logic inside, with the shop, cafe, education room and offices on the ground floor radiating out from the entrance space. In the first floor galleries the circulation pattern changes subtly from radiating to radial as the promenade takes you through a series of galleries with deep walls concealing the ventilation services.
The galleries are daylight through slit skylights and carefully placed windows which frame views of Hemsley Moor, the Town Hall, the Weir and the Chapel on the Bridge.
The building gives a sense of being made specifically for the work of Hepworth whilst at the same time being very much of Yorkshire, grounded and granite like. An affirming project on every level.
David Chipperfield Architects are the only previous RIBA Stirling Prize winner amongst this year's shortlisted architects, having won in 2007 for the Museum of Modern Literature in Marbach, Germany. This is the eighth time that David Chipperfield Architects has been shortlisted for the RIBA Stirling Prize, and the third year running; they now match Foster + Partners who have also been shortlisted for the prize eight times.
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. Inside, the ten blocks create a series of relaxed and intimate exhibition spaces, with great flow and movement between interconnecting rooms.
|A gallery of the Hepworth Wakefield. Photo: Iwan Baan|
The gallery sources renewable energy in the form of heating and cooling from the river's flow.
The distinctive dusky mauve color of the concrete gives the building a unique identity.
London Olympic Stadium by Populous
|The Olympic Stadium in London, England, designed by Populous. Photo: Courtesy London 2012.|
The design of the new Stadium embraces this ambition, creating a world class venue seating 80,000 spectators for the main track and field events and ceremonies, which is then capable of being transformed into a smaller scale venue. The design clearly expresses the main elements of the stadium, distinguishing between the white main structural elements, the black secondary structures and the precast concrete of the seating tiers and plinth to create a striking and legible ensemble. The demountable nature of the structures is expressed through the simple and elegant detailing of its many connections and components.
The organisation focuses very much around the ease of movement of the large numbers of people who will use the stadium during the Games. Spectators approach and move into the building from an arrival plinth that screens all of the 'back of house' activities below and enables level access around the full perimeter of the stadium. The bowl of the stadium provides for clear sightlines throughout and a surprisingly intimate relationship with the events for a venue of this scale.
|Rendering of a typical structural bay of the Olympic Stadium. Image: Populous|
This is the first time that Populous has been shortlisted for the RIBA Stirling Prize
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.
It has a sunken arena so the ground level entrance is actually half-way up the stadium - reducing the number of stairs spectators have to climb to the upper tiers.
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.
There is a spirit of fun - they have designed a space to create an amazing atmosphere, where every seat has a great view.
The Lyric Theatre, Belfast by O'Donnell + Tuomey
|The Lyric Theatre, in Belfast, Northern Ireland, designed by O'Donnell + Tuomey. Photo: Dennis Gilbert|
The theatre is modest and self-confident, deferential and assertive. The entry stairs, the areas for gathering, the tactility of the fittings all lead to the enveloping, dark and dramatic space of the timber-lined, intimate 380 seat auditorium. The quality of the interior spaces, its sensitive response to a challenging site and the expansion of the Lyric's ability to function literally behind the scenes make this a stunning accomplishment and a pleasure to spend time in. In its acoustics, in the quality of its backstage as well as its front of house facilities the new Lyric has drawn praise from many international performers and given Northern Ireland a national theatre of its own.
The building culminates in the fourth annex, a 'sky pavilion' lifted above the cubic office volume to create a rooftop loggia and garden. This disengaged volume contains a series of meeting, dining and function rooms offering panoramic views across the City.
O'Donnell + Tuomey are a Dublin-based practice. This is the fourth time they have been shortlisted for the RIBA Stirling Prize and their second year running: last year their An Gaelaras cultural centre in Derry was shortlisted.
|The wood-paneled theater space of the Lyric Theatre. Photo: Dennis Gilbert|
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 could see each other and to save actors from performing to a symmetrically divided audience. The auditorium has a special, sculptural interior and incredible acoustics.
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.
Maggie's Centre, Gartnavel, Glasgow by OMA
|The Glasgow, Scotland Maggie's Centre cancer care facility was designed by OMA. Photo: Charlie Koolhaas|
Glasgow's new Maggie's Centre, like its sister projects, sets out to provide space where people can feel welcome, at home and cared for; a haven. The architect has sited the building on a slight rise, but cleverly cut it into the slope so that on two sides it looks at banked landscape. It is mostly surrounded by fairly dense tree planting, like a large cabin in the woods.
The entrance space reveals that the single-storey building is a doughnut with a fully-glazed internal walls overlooking a grassy mound. Simultaneously one is aware of a series of interlocking rectangular spaces that lead away in a jagged circle, giving a sense of permeability and promenade and most-tellingly avoiding that bane of hospital architecture - the corridor.
At the same time, there are a number of spaces for personal privacy and interaction, discrete counselling rooms or private nooks and corners, some of which have involved local artist/artisan design and fabrication. Generally there is a surprisingly rich variety of materials and skills on display here, with a particularly pleasing flush inlaid timber/concrete ceiling.
The plan looks haphazard, even chaotic, and there is a medley of different spaces and materials, but this is a masterful composition of highly-efficient spaces.
This is the second time that OMA has been shortlisted for the RIBA Stirling Prize and it is the only practice to have two buildings on the 2012 shortlist. In 2007 OMA's Casa da Musica in Portugal was shortlisted. Rem Koolhaas, who founded OMA, had known Maggie Keswick Jencks (after whom the Maggie's Centres are named) since the 1960s. Lily Jencks, Maggie's daughter, was the landscape designer on the project.
|The Maggie's Center in Glasgow is organized around a courtyard that is separated from interior spaces by floor-to-ceiling glass walls. Photo: Philippe Ruault|
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. They aim to kindle a sense of curiosity and imagination - to be grand in ambition but small in scale.
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 (in fact, the old hospital carpark, now landscaped) the building looks both out to the woods and into the garden giving it a sense of being extroverted and introverted.
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.
New Court, London by OMA with Allies and Morrison
|Together with Allies and Morrison, OMA also designed the New Court, in London, England. Photo: Courtesy OMA|
This new corporate headquarters, the fourth iteration of the Rothschild's London home since 1809, consolidates the Bank's previously dispersed facilities within one building but also makes a number of important urban moves. It reinstates the historic visual connection between St Swithin's and Christopher Wren's neighbouring Church of St Stephen Walbrook, hidden from public view by the previous New Court developments.
The new building is organised into a central cube surrounded by three adjoining annexes and a rooftop tower. It is lifted on pilotis above street level to allow views of church and churchyard through a covered entrance square. This sequence of new public realm and vistas gives a quiet public presence to this previously private institution.
|The entry sequence for the New Court. Photo: Charlie Koolhaas|
The attention to detail and combination of materials used throughout the building gives a sense of understated elegance. This is heightened by the considered contrast of carefully displayed original artefacts alongside the quirky use of super-scale graphics drawn from the Rothschild's collection of fine and decorative arts.
OMA's second building on this year's shortlist. Allies and Morrison has previously been shortlisted twice for the prize.
Rothschild's Bank have been on the same site since 1809. In replacing their previous 1960s building, the architects created an imaginative solution to a very constrained site (part of the Bank Conservation Area).
|An upper-floor conference room inside the New Court, the new headquarters of Rothchild's Bank. Photo: Hans Werlemann|
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.
Sainsbury Laboratory, Cambridge by Stanton Williams
|Stanton Williams designed the Sainsbury Laboratory, in Cambridge, England, for the University of Cambridge. Photo: Hufton+Crow|
An architectural promenade forms the heart of a building which celebrates botanical research through interaction, communication and a connection with nature. From the front to the back, the building progresses from a grand, colonnaded facade to an open balcony and glazed public café, set within a Botanic Garden.
At ground level the entrance gently ramps down through the auditorium and meeting areas. At the upper level the scientists work on illuminated stages, with research and write-up areas forming the ends of two promenades, flanked by small spontaneous brainstorming spaces.
|A skylit laboratory space inside the Sainsbury Laboratory. Photo: Hufton+Crow|
This building is an exciting new typology, with spaces for research juxtaposed with those for education, the private and the public and the highly-technological nurture of nature with the simple enjoyment of an extended botanic garden.
This is the first time that Stanton Williams have been shortlisted for the RIBA Stirling Prize.
|A stairwell inside the Sainsbury Laboratory. Photo: Hufton+Crow|
It cleverly 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.
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.
Recent winners of the RIBA Stirling Prize include:
- 2011: Evelyn Grace Academy, London by Zaha Hadid Architects
- 2010: MAXXI Museum, Rome by Zaha Hadid Architects
- 2009: Maggie's Centre at Charing Cross Hospital, London by Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners
- 2008: Accordia housing development by Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios/ Alison Brooks Architects/ Macreanor Lavington
- 2007: The Museum of Modern Literature, Marbach am Neckar, Germany by David Chipperfield Architects