All Londoners have an opinion on the Shard. The 87-storey Qatari owned skyscraper on the Southbank has become a dominating aspect of the London Skyline, and is now among several British buildings in contention for a major architecture prize.
In addition to the Shard, London is represented in the Royal Institute of British Architects’ (Riba) Stirling Prize by the London Aquatics centre, built for the 2012 Olympic Games.
The prize is the institute’s highest award, and there is stiff competition from the other shortlisted buildings across the UK.
The six shorlisted buildings all differ in their usage, but will all be judged by the same criteria – design excellence and their contribution to the evolution of architecture and urban space.
The winner will be announced on Thursday 16 October.
Here they are:
1. London Aquatics Centre
Zaha Hadid Architects created this UFO-like swimming Mecca for the London 2012 Olympics. Hadid has already won the Stirling prize twice in the past for Rome’s Maxxi museum and for the Evelyn Grace Academy in London
2. Library of Birmingham
Dutch based architects Mecanoo designed this exciting building in Birmingham. It looks like three boxes on top of each other covered in circles. But according to the BBC, Francine Houben, Mecanoo’s founding partner, described her design as a “people’s palace” and said the design was “inspired by the energy of this great city.”
3. Everyman Theatre, Liverpool
Can a £27m revamp by Howarth Tompkins secure the award for Liverpool’s sparkling Everyman Theatre? The front of the building includes 105 large images of people from across the area.
4. Manchester University of Art
Oak staircases and bridges link the shining new building to the original 19th Century School of Art. Designed by Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios, can this melding of old and new take the prize? The team has won the Stirling Prize before, in 2008 for its Accordia housing in Cambridge.
5. London School of Economics (LSE) Saw Swee Hock Student Centre
The striking brick geometry of the new building at LSE is a design by O’Donnell + Tuomey Architects. The building is one continuous upward sprial, making the most of tight space in cramped central London. It is now home to the university’s student union.
6. London Bridge Tower (The Shard)
Hardly needs any introduction, Renzo Piano’s skinny dalek skyscraper design was apparently inspired by the spires and masts as depicted in the paintings of Canaletto.