MArch at the RIBA Stirling Prize Awards Evening

By Alex Stewart-Long (MArch 2)

On Tuesday 31st October myself and two fellow masters students, Amy Cawley and Barney Miles, took the great opportunity to attend the world renowned RIBA Stirling Prize Awards Evening.

After a very exciting tube ride on which we shared a carriage with Graham Stirk from Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners, we arrived at The Roundhouse in Chalk Farm, a Grade II* former railway engine shed converted to a performance venue. The Roundhouse is itself, a fantastic place for inspiring architects to visit!

The awards evening began with food and drinks on the balcony for the students and a very fancy meal for the architects in the lower main area. It was during this time that we had the honour of being interviewed by The Architects' Journal (AJ) to give our opinions on the shortlist entries this year.

Before they announced the Stirling prize winner, there were a number of other awards given. One of which was the Stephen Lawrence Prize, which rewards the best examples of projects with a construction budget of less than £1 million. This year’s winner was a charming projected called The Houseboat designed by Meredith Bowles of Mole Architects and executive architect Rebecca Granger. This design is a private home overlooking Poole Harbour. Interestingly, the client himself is an architect, however he decided to have the assistance of other architects to create his home. This was a project took the team 7 years to complete!

The Stirling Prize itself went to Hastings Pier by dRMM Architects. Although this wasn’t my fellow students or my top choice, it is a project that can be admired for the way it was carried out and what it has done for the local community. The architects worked closely with the local community to create the design that is enjoyed by both visitors and local people. This close connection with the community was highlighted when they played a live stream from the pier itself, where a large party of the local residents was taking place!

After the awards had been given, we were invited down to socialise with the architects and enjoy some dessert. This was a fantastic opportunity to network with architects from around the country. We met Ben Derbyshire (the new RIBA President) and the awards winners themselves, dRMM Architects. Barney even had a chance to show off his salsa skills with the winners.

I would strongly recommend to all students to think about attending this event next year. It is a fantastic chance to network with some of the best architects in the country and to see what designs are winning awards. As a student you also have a fantastic discount! Full price tickets at over £200 but as students you get them for just £50! (And that includes food and drink). We had a fantastic night and are very glad we attended.

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