Buildings are booming - from innovative housing to dazzling new museums. That is the message from this year’s Stirling awards, including the coveted £20,000 Stirling Prize, which this year went to Zaha Hadid for her spectacular MAXXI museum in Rome.
Its bold, dramatic spaces show off her now signature curves. Built in steel, concrete and glass, the museum uses only natural light to create a fantastic setting for cutting-edge modern art.
The Stirling had other messages, too: on the shortlist were two schools - Christ’s College in Guildford, by Deborah Saunt, with its soaring central atrium, self-correcting ventilation and giant picture windows, all of which the students love; and Clapham Manor Primary School by dRMM, like a box of glass building bricks in a range of cheery blues attached to a Victorian building. Its young students enjoy looking out of the different-coloured windows.
The Neues Museum in Berlin, by David Chipperfield, scooped the prestigious Conservation Award. This vast 1850s building, seriously damaged in the Second World War, has been exquisitely restored so that its bricks, columns, coffered ceiling and beautiful floors retain their scars, while a dramatic staircase and new glass courtyards offer an exciting context for its collection of ancient art and sculpture.
Showing the importance of housing design, the Manser Medal has been made a separate award that will be given next month. Homes & Property tips Bateman’s Row in east London by Theis + Khan. The 10-year project has created a gallery, an architectural office, three flats to let and a glassy family home with sensational views across London, out of a derelict site. It is a textbook example of mixed-use development and regeneration.
Architect Soraya Khan says: “In order to borrow the money to pay for it we had to have lettable flats. It was a tremendous risk. The building had to pay for itself.”