This years Stirling Prize shortlist consists of a near-perfect social housing scheme, a luxury apartment block that looks like Meccano, a school that betters pupils’ behaviour and a cancer centre go head to head for the best building of the year.

This years Stirling prize highlights the UK’s desperate housing crisis:

University-of-Greenwich-Stockwell-Street-Building-SE10-by-Heneghan-Peng-architects_dezeen_784_2


University of Greenwich, Stockwell Street Building | Heneghan Peng Architects

University of Greenwich, Stockwell Street Building | Heneghan Peng Architects


University of Greenwich, Stockwell Street Building | Heneghan Peng Architects

Irish firm Heneghan Peng Architects designed the building to house the 2,000 students that make up the university’s architecture and landscape department, as well as a campus library, and teaching facilities for a new faculty of creative professions and digital arts.

The building has the dual role of having to both embed itself as a piece of urban fabric to the south while making itself recognisable as a civic entity to the north. Its expression shifts in response to its context, appearing from Nevada St as a series of tightly packed volumes which blend into the streetscape; as one rounds the corner this fabric begins begin to pull apart, revealing the activity within and establishing the university’s presence within the town as a space of academic excellence and urban connectivity.

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The Whitworth, Manchester | MUMA

The Whitworth gallery in Manchester reopened in February following an extensive renovation by London architecture studio MUMA that included the addition of two new glass and brick gallery wings. Whats award winning about this building?

“Drawing on the Whitworth’s heritage as the first English gallery in a park, the new wings create an art garden between them and is connected by a glass promenade gallery overlooking the surrounding landscape,” said a statement from the gallery.

The Whitworth, Manchester | MUMA

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The Whitworth, Manchester | MUMA

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Maggies Centre, Lanarkshire | Reiach and Hall

The design for Maggie’s Centre Lanarkshire by Reiach and Hall Architects seeks to reinstate a sense of boundary and tranquillity to the edge of a tree-lined estate occupied by Monklands General Hospital, which has gradually been over- taken by car parks.

It is the 16th centre to be built for Maggie’s, a charity founded 18 years ago by the late Maggie Keswick Jencks and architecture theorist Charles Jencks to provide care and support for people affected by cancer.

Maggies Centre, Lanarkshire | Reiach and Hall


Maggies Centre, Lanarkshire | Reiach and Hall

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Darbishire Place | Niall McLaughlin

The design of the block takes cues from the typical Peabody housing blocks, designed by Henry Darbishire in the 1860s. The new block reflects the massing and characteristics of the existing estate blocks. Deep, white reveals around windows and balconies contrast with the brick facade and provide sufficient space for planters on the cills.

The practice ensured that central circulation space is generous, with natural light and ventilation. The winding stair has a central void to provide additional light and an important visual connection between the floors. At least half of the thirteen 1,2,3 and 4-bed units will be affordable dwellings, providing a small but powerful solution for our ever growing housing crisis.

Darbishire Place |Niall McLaughlin


Darbishire Place | Niall McLaughlin

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Burntwood School, Wandsworth | Allford Hall Monaghan Morris

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Burntwood School, Wandsworth | Allford Hall Monaghan Morris

This project, by AHMM, was discussed at some length by the jury for the Architects Journal’s Best Building in 2015. It didn’t win, but there was no doubting the architectural ambition of the scheme.

The six new departments develop the heritage of the existing, orchestrating a system of bespoke constructional components to bring both efficiency and delight. The new buildings – four 4-storey teaching pavilions, a new sports hall and a new performing arts building – are placed amongst a number of retained buildings (including two by Sir Leslie Martin) to form a complete and coherent campus, with lawns, squares and a central pedestrian spine.

Burntwood School, Wandsworth | Allford Hall Monaghan Morris


Burntwood School, Wandsworth | Allford Hall Monaghan Morris

“It’s a tour de force of rigour, exceptional attention to detail, and engineering. Everything is beautifully made.” Bill Thylor, 2012 Structural Steel Awards judge (NEO Bankside)

Situated right next to the iconic Turbine Hall, these four hexagonal pavilions have been arranged to provide residents with generous accommodation, stunning views and maximum daylight. The steel and glass pavilions take their cues from the immediate context.

The overall design hints at the former industrial heritage of the area during the 19th and 20th centuries, responding in a contemporary language which reinterprets the colouration and materials of the local architectural character.

The Stirling Prize winner is announced on 15th October 2015.

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