Britain's best buildings vie for UK architecture's top spot

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The Blavatnik School of Government by Herzog & de Meuron is one of this year's six Stirling Prize finalists(Credit: Iwan Baan)

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The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) has announced the six finalists taking part in this year's annual Stirling Prize competition. Outstanding projects include a luxury concrete house, an Oxford University building with a dazzling glazed facade, and a public art gallery displaying Damien Hirst's private collection.

Though the competition covers all of the UK, five of the six finalists are located in south England, with the sole exception in Glasgow, Scotland. Half of the picks for the shortlist are educational buildings, while a private home, a public art gallery, and a housing development make up the remainder.

"The RIBA Stirling Prize is awarded to the building that has made the biggest contribution to the evolution of architecture in a given year," says RIBA President Jane Duncan.

A few highlights from this year's competition are shown below. Head to the gallery to see the rest of the buildings.

Outhouse – Loyn & Co

Outhouse, by Loyn & Co, is the first private house to feature in the Stirling Prize in 15 years and also made it onto RIBA's House of the Year competition, too. Located next to the Welsh border in Gloucestershire, England, this stunning luxury house serves as both home and studio to an artistic couple.

Built from concrete, Outhouse is part-buried into the hillside and has a large glazed facade and green roof with built-in lightwells to increase natural light inside. Sustainable technology used includes solar panels to reduce grid-based electricity needs and rainwater harvesting. The home is also near airtight, making it very efficient to maintain a steady temperature.

Newport Street Gallery – Caruso St John Architects

Vauxhall, South London's Newport Street Gallery, by Caruso St John Architects, is a pubic art gallery housing artist Damien Hirst's own art collection that's free of charge to visit.

The interior comprises six exhibition spaces, split over two levels and includes works by Francis Bacon, Banksy, Tracey Emin, Pablo Picasso, Richard Prince, and Gavin Turk.

Construction involved the conversion of three large listed industrial buildings which formerly served as theater carpentry and scenery painting workshops. Two new buildings were also created, and old and new were joined seamlessly, with the result that the art gallery now spans half the length of the street.

Blavatnik School of Government – Herzog & De Meuron

Herzog & De Meuron's Blavatnik School of Government looks remarkable both inside and out. Its radical tiered structure is dominated by a central space known as The Forum that stitches each level together and serves as a centerpiece to the building.

It's green too, and certified BREEAM Excellent (a green building standard). According to projections, the Blavatnik School of Government is expected to consume 49 percent less energy compared to existing UK buildings of the same size and use. The building has multiple solar panel arrays, is heated and cooled by a ground source heat pump, and features rainwater harvesting.

The six shortlisted buildings will now compete for the Stirling Prize, with the winner to be awarded on October 6.

Source: RIBA

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