RIBA has announced the nominees shortlist for the Stirling prize 2008. Six buildings have been chosen from winners of 2008 RIBA National Awards and 2008 RIBA European Awards. The jury is currently visiting these buildings to make their final decisions. The list makes for a very interesting mix:
Grimshaw Architects and Arcadis. The architectural key to the project is the interpretation of the gaps between the tracks and the ways in which these have been transformed to make lofty and enjoyable public spaces between the ground and the platforms above, linked diagonally with escalators, vertically by glazed lift towers, horizontally by the platforms themselves. The arriving and departing trains and the leisurely procession of passengers make for a remarkable piece of drama. The station is situated in the south-east of the city, on the broadened track between Amsterdam and Utrecht. The station is one of the five largest stations in the Netherlands. Definitely one of my stops next year!
Denton Corker Marshall, is the largest court building to be built in the UK since the Royal Courts of Justice. This pioneering new building separates civil and criminal justice systems, creating a new civic building that is open and accessible. The working courts and offices are expressed as rectilinear forms, articulated at each floor level. The building is an elegant and beautifully executed response to a complex brief that has made a significant contribution to the regeneration of this part of Manchester.
The Nordpark Cable Railway by Zaha Hadid with Patrik Schumacher. Zaha Hadid Architects designed all four stations along the route. The designs are all variations on a suite of parts made up of concrete station platforms, lifts, stairs and sensuous protective canopies. The key relationship within each composition is between the concrete which forms a supporting platform, and the over-sailing canopy that acts as a heraldic signal to announce the presence of the station.The base can be read as a moraine, connected to the earth but given form by a glacier. The canopy can be imagined as like the glacier itself, a changeable, luminous monolith curved as if shaped by melt water. The construction of the three dimensionally curved glass forms is an achievement of great virtuosity. In the development of Zaha Hadid's architecture from drawing to construction, this project represents a milestone in achieved form.
Allies and Morrison Architects.The Festival Hall has been restored to its original elegance and vitality. Rick Mather’s master plan for the South Bank identified the potential for an office building between the hall and the railway line, which was the master-stroke at the root of the transformation. By moving all the administrative offices into this new office building, Allies and Morrison were able to liberate many of the internal spaces previously used as offices.They have restored the legibility and essence of the original architecture and re-established the Festival Hall as a major international venue. On the river façade, a dingy service road has been transformed into an elegant parade of restaurants and shops. With landscaping by Gross Max, the river terrace is proving to be a successful urban space.
Allford Hall Monaghan Morris Architects, provides a striking presence ringed by the Westway, the railway and high rise local authority estates. To enter the building you arrive in a generous open area, an inner courtyard that rises up through the building. The basic organisation is teaching and support spaces around the edges with a large full height court at the centre. The arrangement allows high levels of visibility for both staff and students. The graphic signage contributes a level of spirited corporate identity that traditional schools lack. Externally the treatment of the façade, using green banded aluminium panels produces a building of very singular identity that suggests a commercial rather than institutional user. The staff and governors who were highly involved in the development of core ideas are immensely excited and proud of their building. The local community, which has already been heavily involved, will have extensive access to both the school and its sports facilities.
Posted originally at 2Modern Design Talk on the 25th of September 2008.