Britain's Best New Building 2017 RIBA Stirling Prize


Britain's Best New Building 2017

David Sillito reports on the shortlisted buildings - including the winner - for this year's RIBA Stirling Prize, one of the most prestigious awards in architecture.


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and other contenders

for the the prestigious design award

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the Royal Institute of British

Architects Stirling Prize 2017.

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Six startling buildings, and behind

each one, the story of people,

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problems and some beautiful

solutions. All competing for the

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biggest prize in British

architecture. The Stirling Prize.

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What are you looking for?

We are

looking for the very highest level

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of architectural achievement. What

we're doing here is celebrating

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Civitas, the idea that cities have a

role in bringing together the

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social, economic and cultural

well-being of their citizens, and I

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think these buildings, this short

list, really does I think mark out

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our contribution to that territory.

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Look at that! City of dreams.

It's

like walking into the gates of

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heaven.

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It looks seriously so dope. It looks

so cool.

And its tremendous fun,

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it's like a haven of quietness and

freedom and madness. It's just

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brilliant, for me it's excellent.

Wow! Blimey.

I think what's unique

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about this building is it a

strikingly modern building in a very

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sensitive conservation environment.

I love this building because it

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reflects so many elements of the

historic dockyard.

When the fire

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happened, people were so devastated,

people just felt like they had to do

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something to help.

Lavender, very

nice. There is a touch of the

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English country cottage garden about

all of this, the wickerwork, the old

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handles, but looks can be deceiving,

because this is actually a very

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modern brick built block of flats.

But inside, there is a surprise,

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because this is one of six buildings

nominated for this year's Stirling

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building of the year. And over the

next half an hour, we will be

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looking at all of them and working

at quite why they have been

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nominated, at the end, we will find

out who has won. But first, a look

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at a much loved building, one that

needs to be reinvented for the

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21st-century, but has the last few

years had a habit of burning down.

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It gets you in here. You just think,

why?

You were here when it burnt

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down?

I was.

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People that had never spoken to

before were stopping me to talk

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about the

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Pier, and every body was devastated.

It was quite frightening to think

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how people would come back from

that.

Did you think it was all over?

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Idea to, but actually it was the

opposite.

The Victorian pier, a part

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of the seaside. But the history of

the British peer is all too often a

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history of recurring disaster.

Scattered timbers, all the remains

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of Worthing Pier.

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My parents met in the ballroom on

the pier, so I class myself as a

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pier baby.

And this is where the

pier ballroom used to be.

I don't

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know how this works. You need a man

as well, you see.

You want me to

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waltz with you, don't you? I don't

think we are going to make Strictly,

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are we

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think we are going to make Strictly,

are we?

I didn't see it at the time,

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I saw it the next day when it was

smoking and smouldering, and you

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just think, why? Very emotional. And

to think that it happened, but in

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some ways, I think it was a blessing

in disguise, because we've been able

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to go forward with this beautiful

structure, and I'm not sure whether

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if it hadn't been for the fire that

we would have come this far.

Seven

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years on, Jill and thousands of

others in the town now own the pier,

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and have overseen the reinvention of

an old friend. This curtain of glass

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finally gives the people of Hastings

a panoramic view out to sea. The

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woodwork here is still the original

timber, there are still some scorch

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marks. But the most important

innovation is this. Nothing. What

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they chose not to build. The empty

space. There is no end of the pier.

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Building a pier, it's a bit of a mad

idea, isn't it?

It's bonkers, yes.

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And that's what's so brilliant about

it, is nobody in their right mind

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would build a pier out of a material

which is going to be dissolved where

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it stands.

You are fighting a losing

battle everyday?

Absolutely, and we

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will need to keep on replacing parts

everyday. It gets worn, it gets worn

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away. We didn't have enough money

during the reconstruction to replace

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everything, so we are constantly

repairing, tidying up nuts and

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bolts. Nowadays you would build it

out of concrete and steel.

Yes.

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You're going to put your finger on

the one thing that makes it so

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special, the design, what would it

be?

Space. You don't get a vision of

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the pier until you get out the far

end, and you see this horizon to

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horizon, and you say, now I get it.

You look at it from above and you

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say, so what? You get out there and

you go, aha, now I understand, and

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you have to be there to see it.

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So, Hastings Pier, flexibility,

designed to last long into the

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future, and also involving the

community. And all those things also

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apply here, another of the Stirling

nominees, this is the City of

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Glasgow College, and this is the

central atrium. What's it all about?

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They wanted a bit of wow factor, the

Cinderella of British education,

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they wanted to give it a bit of

civic dignity. But before we look at

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the full details of here, two of the

buildings of this year's Stirling

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nominees.

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Essentially, Juergen wanted a

studio, a place to work. That means

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quite a few things, shooting

photographs, making books, making

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exhibitions as well as obviously

lots of people, so really that's

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where the idea of several buildings

in several gardens, so somewhere

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where lots of different types of

shoots can happen in a very natural

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setting.

Juergen wanted to share his

home with the studio. We wanted this

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new building to have the same

moments of intimacy, so he still has

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the kitchen table which is where he

does meet clients and where he

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works, there is a library, sauna,

Jim, there is a very private in a

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world to the studio, and there is a

big studio where he lays out and

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does shoot things, then there is the

public building at the front which

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has different collaborators and

staff and an archive. There is

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equality between garden and internal

space, all the way through the

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building, that is a beautiful part

of it. But reduced palette that has

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texture but allows it to be the

background and allows his

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photography to be the foreground.

There is a sort of quality of light

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both within and in the gardens which

is almost archaic, and I think that

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that makes an amazing setting for

the kind of work that Juergen does.

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I'm using every single centimetre of

the space, and I photograph every

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bit of it, and it is tremendous fun,

it is like a haven of quietness and

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freedom and madness. It is just

brilliant. For me, it's excellent.

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So, the three major challenges at

the dockyard would exhibit the

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ships' timbers, to build

21st-century visitor facilities, and

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to provide gallery spaces which told

the story of the dockyard in the age

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of sailing, and we managed to do

this by introducing a new building

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into the dockyard which allowed for

the communication and circulation of

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visitors around the galleries.

As an

example of why I like this building,

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it acts as a real beacon for

visitors.

For me, the building is

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very special because we've managed

to find a way to respond to a very

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sensitive historic setting with an

architecture that is quite robust

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and allows the buildings around it

to speak.

I love this building

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because it reflects so many elements

of the historic dockyard, and in

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those modern reflections, it unlocks

the stories that are contained

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within the original buildings.

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Wow, look at that. City of dreams.

It is so cool. It has got lights.

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Not just regular lights, purple

lights. It looks awesome. It smells

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so new. There is a cost a

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lights. It looks awesome. It smells

so new. There is a cost a! I would

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have preferred a Starbucks, but

Costa is better than nothing.

This

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film was made by a student, King

Billy Hawker, capturing her

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reactions on seeing the new college.

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A year later, we invited her back to

take us on a tour.

It is like hidden

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surprises, still places that halfway

through my course I was just

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discovering upon. I think it is

really great that they have hidden

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these little secret gems all over

the college. In here is the salon,

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and also the market where they have

the bakery.

Wow.

It's so incredible,

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and I think that's what every

student feels when they walk in here

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for the first time, it has a wow

factor to it, and it here for the

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students, you know?

From the

outside, we wanted something that

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had a very strong civic presence,

that had an elegance. It's built on

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a hill, so we wanted it to

accentuate that. We wanted to put

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this building up on a pedestal. We

wanted to say, here in Glasgow, this

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is the building that we think the

college deserves.

One of the things

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that we were trying to do was to

make a place that would be equally

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attractive to young people as the

shopping mall or the park corner, a

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place that would allow their social

lives to exist as well as receive

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their education.

You wanted it to be

fun?

Yes, to make a place that can

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let people enjoy what they're doing,

and be proud of it.

Did it work? We

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will meet 17-year-old catering

student Lee Christie.

My favourite

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kitchen. This is the best kitchen in

the college itself. When I walked

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into this kitchen, I was like, is

this a college kitchen?! It's like

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walking into the gates of heaven.

You walk in, it's open.

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Well, the museum had a very complex

40-year master plan for the site, a

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lot of it to do with supplementing

the front of house experience,

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adding conservation and science and

logistics, and a lot of these were

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challenges left over on the museum

compound from a work that is being

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evolving for 250 years, so what we

did was we spent a tremendous amount

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of time with the museum

understanding their wants and needs

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to try to respond to the brief.

Essentially they wanted to create a

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world conservation and exhibition

Centre for the whole of the museum

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campus. This is really a celebration

of all of the background work that

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maintains this collection and

studies it appropriately. And it

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also creates a fantastic vehicle

within which the wider world

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contributions and exchanges can

exist.

The building is a

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state-of-the-art facility for

conservation and scientific

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research, it has helped to bring all

of those staff together to work

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together, and it has helped us to

design new laboratory services to

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better understand the collection and

communicate it to the wider public.

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What is striking about this building

is that it is a great environment,

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and by the end of the process here,

I felt like I worked here rather

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than the partners.

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We are in the middle of Stoke

Newington in Hackney surrounded by

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these fairly straightforward and

Victorian and Edwardian redbrick

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terraces.

And then we get this

almost cartoonish apartments.

So

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where are the bins?

This is very

cleverly disguising the bike store

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on the one side and the bins on the

other, the sorts of things usually

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left out.

Lets see what it looks

like inside. I love these sorts of

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things. This is all the stuff that

is usually causing a blight on the

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outside, nicely hidden away.

Exactly.

This is not what I was

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expecting. It's a sea of wood.

It is

a bit like entering a kind of sauna.

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This is plywood, is it?

It is known

as cross laminated timber, so it is

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a super sized form of plywood.

John

Boehner plywood!

Exactly, it allows

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buildings to go up to ten or more

stories.

There is still a lot of

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wood, isn't there? Is this a door,

do you think is yellow that's the

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game in this house. Cupboard or

extra bedroom? The washing machine!

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It's hidden away.

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It's a celebration of the beauty of

wood. There is no plaster, no paint,

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not even a skirting board, and a

factory built wooden kit makes

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construction quicker and cheaper.

The basic structure can go up in a

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few days. Architects are even

looking at building skyscrapers

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using the technology. They're

getting very excited about timber.

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On the continent they've been using

solid timber construction for so

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long, it's shown to be good,

cheaper, much more environmentally

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friendly. To me, it's the future of

housing.

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So, all we need now is a winner,

which is why we're here. This is it,

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the royal Institute of British

architects Stirling Prize, the

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biggest night of British

architecture. The announcement will

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come in the next few minutes, but

the question is, how do you compare

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the big show of projects against

much smaller, detailed but still

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carefully crafted buildings? Well,

it's all about the art of

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architecture. Which one of them has

taken that art and pushed it forward

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and solved human problems in a

different way?

As chair of the jury,

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I congratulate every single one of

this year's finalists. Truly

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remarkable buildings, designed and

built perfectly for the people that

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they serve. The winner of the 2017

Riba Stirling Prize for architecture

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is Hastings Pier by dRMM

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Riba Stirling Prize for architecture

is Hastings Pier by dRMM.

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CHEERING

Congratulations. These come and join

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us. Please come and join us on the

stage.

You can't do interesting

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projects, special projects, without

a special client, and I would say

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Hastings Pier charity are up there

amongst the most special, even

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eccentric, clients you would ever

meet.

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CHEERING

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A good feeling?

It's a fantastic

feeling, not only personally but on

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behalf of a great many people who

worked on this project.

It's not a

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normal project for an architect at

all?

Absolutely. It was initiated by

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local community group who

kick-started an effort to save a

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derelict Peya which then caught fire

and then had to be completely

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rethought, so it was a long process,

seven years of thinking and cloying

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and proposing, and to now come here

and be recognised not just as a kind

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of community driven project but as a

design, that is fantastic.

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When it was opened in the 1870s, it

was described as the peerless pier,

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a masterpiece of Victorian

engineering. But like so many

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others, it has faced the ups and

downs of fires, storm and changing

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fashions. Yes, 145 years on, it is

now Britain's best new building.

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Just perhaps, Hastings Pier can

offer an example to others of new

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hope, new future, a new possibility

for the British pier.

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What are your thoughts looking out

on this now?

Oh, I love it. It's

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just so peaceful.

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