Tuesday 25 August 2015


The shortlist this year for the prestigious Stirling Prize has been cleverly selected to tick all the right boxes. There is the understated functional social housing nestled in the heart of London up against the flashy apartment blocks designed by Richard Rogers with the customary exposed brightly coloured structure. 

Then there is the refurbishment and extension of the Whitworth Gallery Manchester which whilst clever in so many ways and successfully embracing the leafy park setting, the architecture feels slightly forced in some respects.

In the obligatory education category there is the last of the 'building schools for the future' project, Burntwood school, a strong contender and great example of how well designed buildings can influence and inspire the occupants. In addition there is a new building for the University of Greenwich which houses the school of architecture which does little to grab my attention but has created some interesting architectural forms and facades. 

The final contender is the Maggie Cancer Care Centre in Lanarkshire by Reiach and Hall Architects which is my favourite of the 6 shortlisted. It is a beautifully simple single storey building designed around small intimate courtyards creating internal and external spaces which are both calm and serene. The clever punctuation of walls and finishes give it a lightness of touch in the landscape and in turn bring natural light into the 'comfortable' domestic scale interior spaces.