The Critic has kindly posted my article on this year’s Stirling Prize well in advance of the announcement of the winners on Thursday 13th. October.
I wrote the article before the bookies had declared their odds-on favourite as Mae Architects’ Sands End Arts and Community Centre which I recognise as being attractive in a low-key, community oriented way, entirely worthy and estimable. But I don’t feel it has the considered and heavyweight seriousness of Niall McLaughlin’s new library at Magdalene College, Cambridge, which strikes me as an extraordinarily impressive achievement in inserting a new building into a very tricky site and doing it with such intelligence and integrity.
I will repeat two pleas.
The first is that the RIBA makes the judging process wilfully opaque. How come the regional winners are all knocked out in favour of a shortlist of which four of the six projects are in London ? Who chooses and on what criteria ? The judges were only announced in early September long after the shortlist had been drawn up.
The second is that the RIBA does nothing to encourage visiting the projects which are a good way of seeing new architecture. Could they not in future do an online map and visiting arrangements ? I can’t be the only person who enjoys seeing them.