2020 RIBA Stirling Prize cancelled due to coronavirus

Oct 7, 2020
  • Article by Online Editor

COVID-19 has halted all 2020 Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) Awards, including the much anticipated Stirling Prize, the top British prize for excellence in architecture.

In a statement, the RIBA announced all awards judging “had been postponed until next year”. This includes the institution’s National Awards, from which the Stirling Prize is selected.

Last year’s Stirling Prize winner Goldsmith Street by Mikhail Riches Architects with Cathy Hawley. Photo: Tim Crocker.

The institution made the decision following concerns over the safety of its jury.

“To maintain the consistency and rigour of our judging process, all RIBA Award winning projects must be visited in person, therefore it is unfortunately not possible to continue with this year’s awards,” it said.

“All projects which have already been shortlisted for a 2020 RIBA Regional Award will be included in our 2021 RIBA Awards, which will open for entries shortly.”

Last year’s RIBA House of the Year House Lessan by McGonigle McGrath. Photo: Aidan McGrath.

Britain has seen a sharp increase in coronavirus cases over the past month with more than 12,000 cases recorded over the last 24-hours.

The Stirling Prize has been awarded every year since 1996 when Manchester-based practice Hodder + Partners won the inaugural prize for the Centenary Building at the University of Salford.

Last year’s prize was awarded to a council housing project – a first in the award’s history.

Hailed a “modest masterpiece” by the 2019 Stirling Prize jury, Goldsmith Street in Norfolk was designed by Mikhail Riches Architects with Cathy Hawley.

Other past Stirling Prize winners have included Foster + Partners, Zaha Hadid Architects and WilkinsonEyre.

The 2021 RIBA Gold Medal winner Sir David Adjaye OBE. Photo: Alex Fradkin.

The 2019 RIBA House of the Year was also an unusual choice, with the jury awarding the top prize to a family home in Northern Ireland built for less than $635,000 and designed by local practice, McGonigle McGrath.

While the RIBA has postponed its building awards, the institution did go ahead with its Gold Medal, which was given to British-Ghanian architect Sir David Adjaye OBE. Adjaye is the first Black architect to receive the prize.

Lead photo: Last year’s Stirling Prize winner Goldsmith Street by Mikhail Riches Architects with Cathy Hawley. Photo: Tim Crocker.

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