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Stanton Williams wins RIBA Stirling Prize

October 16, 2012

London-based architecture firm Stanton Williams has won the 2012 Royal Institute of British Architects’ Stirling Prize for its Sainsbury Laboratory.

Photo by Hufton + Crow

London-based architecture firm Stanton Williams has won the 2012 Royal Institute of British Architects’ Stirling Prize for its Sainsbury Laboratory, a major new plant science research centre in Cambridge. This is the first time Stanton Williams have won or been shortlisted for the Stirling Prize.

Set within the University of Cambridge Botanic Gardens, the low-rise, collonnaded stone and glass building is carefully designed to complement its Grade II listed garden setting. Reinterpreting the tradition of the monastic cloister and collegiate court, Stanton Williams created in the vicinity spaces for reflection, debate and collaboration among scientists.

The building, which overlooks the woods where Charles Darwin used to walk with his mentor Henslow, was described as “a timeless piece of architecture” by the judges (who included among them Sir Nicholas Grimshaw, former president of the Royal Academy; and Sir Mark Jones, former Director of the V&A Museum).

RIBA President Angela Brady said that 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.”

Now in its 17th year, the RIBA Stirling Prize is the UK’s most prestigious architecture prize, awarded to the architects of the best new European building built or designed in the UK. Stanton Williams were awarded the trophy, along with £20,000 at the ceremony in Manchester on Saturday. Stanton Williams took the prize over the other shortlisted entries that included Populous’s London Olympic Stadium and David Chipperfield Architects’ Hepworth Wakefield.

The RIBA Lubetkin Prize winner was also announced on Saturday, with Wilkinson Eyre Architects’ Guangzhou International Finance centre – the tallest building in the world by a UK architect – taking out the title.

Australian architecture firms FJMT and BVN Architecture were both presented with RIBA International Awards in July.

RIBA website: www.architecture.com

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