Olympic venue loses design award race
The Olympic Stadium failed to gain its final gold medal of a momentous year after it was pipped to the UK’s most coveted architecture prize.
The 80,000-capacity stadium, by Populous, was one of six new buildings to be shortlisted for the Royal Institute of British Architects’ (Riba) Stirling Prize.
But the £20,000 prize went to the £82 million Sainsbury Laboratory, a new plant-science research centre in Cambridge designed by first-time winners Stanton Williams, at Saturday night’s ceremony in Manchester.
The judges described the laboratory as a timeless piece of architecture, a university building “taken to an extraordinary degree of sophistication and beauty”.
Riba president Angela Brady said: “The Sainsbury Laboratory is an exceptional building that achieves at many levels in blending a world-class science facility with a public social space in a highly energy-efficient building.
“It is testament to the skill, experience and imagination of Stanton Williams architects that they have found a creative solution to this complex project.”
Announcing their shortlist just before the Games started in July, judges described the Olympic Stadium in Stratford, London, as having “a spirit of fun”.
“They have designed a space to create an amazing atmosphere, where every seat has a great view,” they added.
The Stirling Prize is in its 17th year and celebrates the best of new British architecture.
The judging panel was led by Sir Nicholas Grimshaw, the architect and former president of the Royal Academy; Sir Mark Jones, master of St Cross College Oxford and former director of the Victoria and Albert Museum; architects Joanna van Heyningen and Hilde Daem; and the designer, writer and broadcaster Naomi Cleaver.
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