News item from 2010

Richard Bryant / Arcaid

Ashmolean Museum is shortlisted for RIBA Stirling Prize 2010

Now in its fifteenth year, the prestigious £20,000 RIBA Stirling Prize 2010, in association with The Architects' Journal and Benchmark., is awarded to the architects of the best new European building ‘built or designed in Britain’.

The Ashmolean is shortlisted alongside Zaha Hadid's MAXXI Museum in Rome, David Chipperfield's Neues Museum in Berlin, Clapham Manor primary school in south London designed by the firm of De Rijke Marsh Morgan, Christ's College school in Guildford by DSDHA and a home and office building in Shoreditch by Theis and Khan Architects.

Founded in 1683, the Ashmolean is Britain’s oldest public museum. Following a major redevelopment to transform the Ashmolean to meet the needs of a 21st Century audience, the new Rick Mather designed building has doubled the Museum’s display space. It houses 39 new galleries, including a new suite of temporary exhibition galleries, a dedicated education centre, state-of-the-art conservation studios, and Oxford’s first roof-top restaurant.

The winner will be announced at The Roundhouse, London on Saturday 2 October 2010, and broadcast live on BBC TWO’s The Culture Show at 6.30pm, presented by Kevin McCloud.

Christopher Brown, Director of the Ashmolean, said, “We are absolutely delighted to be shortlisted for this award. It is a great honour for the Museum and Rick Mather Architects to be recognized for the transformative qualities this redevelopment project has achieved, from the sensitive design of the new building to the innovative redisplay of our renowned collections.”

William Hill is again offering odds on the shortlisted buildings. The six buildings competing for this year's title and their odds according to William Hill are:

 Ashmolean Museum, Oxford by Rick Mather Architects (William Hill odds: 5/1)
 Bateman's Row, London by Theis and Khan (7/1)
 Christ's College School, Guildford by DSDHA (6/1)
 Clapham Manor Primary School, London by dRMM (5/1)
 MAXXI, National Museum of XXI Century Arts, Rome by Zaha Hadid Architects (evens: 1/1)
 Neues Museum, Berlin by David Chipperfield Architects with Julian Harrap Architects (11/2)

Ruth Reed, RIBA President, said:

“The RIBA Stirling Prize celebrates architectural excellence and this year we have a remarkable group of buildings on the shortlist. Unique in the history of the RIBA Stirling Prize, three major museum buildings make up half of the list, showing us three very different ways of building - and re-building - museums and galleries. They are the fruits of the economic boom of the last decade and sadly may represent the end of an era.

“This is also the first year that two schools have been shortlisted for the prize. They represent what all schools should be: light, well-laid-out and well-equipped environments in which all students can flourish. Investment in well designed schools demonstrates to teachers and pupils how much they are valued and has measurable impact – attendance and results rise; truancy and bullying fall. With the programme to improve our extremely poor school estate now much reduced – it could be some time before we see such exemplar school buildings on the Stirling shortlist again.

“A commercial/private building by a young practice - a boundary-pushing take on the future of mixed-use buildings - completes the shortlist. It is one of three projects by practices that have never been shortlisted before. I look forward to the debate with my fellow judges about which project is the worthiest winner, and announcing the result in October.”

The 2010 RIBA Stirling Prize judges who will visit the six shortlisted buildings and meet for a final time on the day of the presentation to pick the winner are: Ruth Reed, RIBA President (chair); Ivan Harbour, architect, Rogers Stirk Harbour; Edward Jones, architect, Dixon Jones; Professor Lisa Jardine, historian and writer; and Mark Lawson, broadcaster.

Previous winners of the RIBA Stirling Prize include: Maggie’s Centre at Charing Cross Hospital, London by Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners (2009); Accordia housing development by Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios/Alison Brooks Architects/Macreanor Lavington (2008); The Museum of Modern Literature, Marbach am Neckar, Germany by David Chipperfield Architects (2007).

The RIBA Stirling Prize principal sponsors are The Architects’ Journal and Benchmark; associate sponsors: Ibstock, NBS and SIV.

- ends -
Notes to editors:

1. For further press information and full citations please contact Melanie Mayfield in the RIBA Press Office – or 020 7307 3662
Images are available via an image download site:
Username: pressimages
Password: press2010

2. The RIBA Stirling Prize is a ‘built or designed in Britain’ prize, for which buildings in the UK by RIBA Chartered Members and International Fellows, or buildings in the rest of the EU by practices whose principal office is in the UK, are eligible. The RIBA Stirling Prize shortlist is selected from winners of the RIBA Awards – full details can be found at

3. The shortlisted buildings will be judged on a range of criteria including design vision, innovation and originality, capacity to stimulate engage and delight occupants and visitors, accessibility and sustainability, how fit the building is for its purpose and the level of client satisfaction.

4. Brief citations for each shortlisted building are included below (full citations are available):

The Ashmolean Museum, Oxford – Rick Mather Architects
The bar for this project could not have been set higher – to take Britain’s oldest museum and increase display space by 100% while retaining Charles Cockerell’s 1845, Grade I Listed building, resulting in 9000 square metres of new accommodation that remains largely invisible to the public realm - this building clears the bar by a mile to give a world class institution a worthy new home.
Entered through the Cockerell façade into a day-lit atrium, which is modest in plan yet dramatic in section, rising through six floors with a subtly curved staircase cascading down one wall, the atrium unifies the museum. The route navigates its way through 39 new galleries with a clever interleaving of double and single height spaces creating a rich spatial journey.

Bateman's Row, London EC2 - Theis and Khan Architects
This is a development by the architect-client for a mix of uses including their home and office, a studio and gallery and four apartments. In section the scheme skilfully adjusts the floor heights, creating taller spaces for the gallery, the studio and the principle living space.
A dark brick base defines the back of pavement of the narrow streets and the building becomes progressively lighter towards the top, with an almost Californian quality to the living room and terraces on the top floors giving incredible views to the city.
This is a great city-making building the sort scale and mix that is both ordinary and relevant but executed with extraordinary care and judgement, the sort of building London needs a lot more of.

Christ’s College School, Guildford – DSDHA
This clever design for a secondary school is a worthy companion to the adjoining special needs school by the same architects. The school building achieves a great deal on three compact levels yet has a gratifying generosity of circulation and inner courtyard spaces. The five faculties within the school are boldly identified with bright coloured doors in a predominantly grey/black/concrete series of internal finishes, which are subtle, grown–up and calming.
The building embodies an innovative natural ventilation system, which is subtly manifested on the brown brickwork of external walls as occasional patterns of gaps in the pointing. The fenestration is handsomely arranged in each façade, has deep reveals, and in places accentuates key views across Guildford.

Clapham Manor Primary School, London SW4 - dRMM
This project is a freestanding addition to a 19th Century Board School, which in the words of the designers 'plugs into' the existing school building, allowing the school to work as a single entity. The form of the building is a simple rectangle but because it occupies the gap between two existing buildings it creates a surprisingly successful arrangement and creates some spaces which have been made into pocket gardens.
The facade system allows good light and views at different heights for children and adults and the use of the coloured panels in what one commentator has called 'boisterous polychromy' provides the building with a singular identity. Overall the project provides an extremely inventive and uplifting example of what the next generation of school buildings could be.

MAXXI, National Museum of XXI Art, Rome – Zaha Hadid Architects
This museum of 21st Century art, collected since the inception of the project, is a place of paths and routes. For all its structural pyrotechnics, it is rationally organised as five main suites. The whole is bravely daylit with a sinuous roof of controllable skylights, louvres and beams, whilst at the same time conforming to the very strict climate control requirements of modern galleries; the skylights both orientate and excite the visitor, but also turn them into uplifting spaces.
This is a mature piece of architecture, the distillation of years of experimentation, only a fraction of which ever got built. It is the quintessence of Zaha’s constant attempt to create a landscape, a series of cavernous spaces drawn with a free, roving line.

The Neues Museum – David Chipperfield Architects with Julian Harrap Architects
The Neues Museum was Prussia’s answer to Britain’s Great Exhibition of 1851. The restored museum houses Egyptian and Pre / Early History archaeological collections and is a centre for active scientific research as well as public dissemination. This duality lay at the heart of the project organisation. A unique integration of client and science, together with a close collaboration between Chipperfield’s and conservation architects Julian Harrap, has resulted in an exceptionally coherent and holistic piece of architecture.

The key architectural aim of the project was to reinstate the original volumes and to repair and restore the parts remaining after the war. The original sequence of rooms was restored by the new spaces, thereby creating continuity with the existing structure.

5. The RIBA Stirling Prize dinner in association with The Architects’ Journal and Benchmark will take place on Saturday 2 October 2010 at the Roundhouse, London, and broadcast live on BBC TWO’s The Culture Show at 6.30pm, presented by Kevin McCloud.

6. The 2010 RIBA Stirling Prize judges are Ruth Reed, RIBA President (chair), Ivan Harbour, architect, Rogers Stirk Harbour; Edward Jones, architect, Dixon Jones; Professor Lisa Jardine, historian and writer; and Mark Lawson, broadcaster.

7. Established in 1895, The Architects' Journal has consistently been at the forefront of architectural publishing. Its weekly news coverage, comprehensive building studies and in-depth technical and practice features make it essential reading for the profession, and its incisive commentary makes it a must-read for opinion formers. The AJ is the UK's leading independent architectural magazine, whose authoritative voice has informed generations of architects. For more information on the RIBA Awards programme visit the AJ website at

8. Benchmark, a new architectural business from Kingspan, a turning point in the ease with which inspirational architectural roof and façade systems can become a reality. Created to bring about change in architectural design, the Benchmark product range is the result of comprehensive research, partnership working and innovative thinking that will enable bold new designs to be created from a wide variety of materials, colours and textures without compromising on style and performance. For more information visit

9. The RIBA Trust manages the cultural /assets of the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA), including the internationally recognised collections of the British Architectural Library. It is the UK’s national architecture centre, delivering the RIBA Awards and the RIBA Stirling Prize (now to be broadcast on BBC TWO); the Royal Gold Medal; International and Honorary Fellowships; a full programme of lectures, exhibitions, tours and other events; and an education programme.

10. The RIBA Stirling Prize dinner is also sponsored by Ibstock, NBS and SIV.


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