The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) has announced the finalists for this year's Stirling Prize competition, the most prestigious award in British architecture. The six projects include a crowdfunded pier, a photographer's studio, and an eye-catching apartment building.

As was the case last year, five of the six finalists are located in southern England, with the sole exception being in Glasgow, Scotland. The entrants are perhaps lacking the wow-factor of some previous years, though you can't fault the quality of architecture on offer here.

"This year's shortlisted schemes show exceptionally creative, beautifully considered and carefully detailed buildings that have made every single penny count," says RIBA President Jane Duncan. "Commissioned at the end of the recession, they are an accolade to a creative profession at the top of its game. Each of these outstanding projects has transformed their local area and delights those who are lucky enough to visit, live, study or work in them."

We've listed the finalists below in no particular order, but head to the gallery for more on each project. The overall winner will be announced on October 31.

Hastings Pier

The original Hastings Pier opened in 1872 and its long history includes a stint used for training troops in World War II and serving as a venue hosting acts like The Rolling Stones and the Sex Pistols. Falling into disrepair, it was closed in 2008 and then suffered a fire in 2010 that pretty much destroyed it.

Following this disaster, the local community rallied around and bought the pier for a nominal sum then raised money for dRMM architects to design its successor. Clad in timber salvaged from the original pier, the new pier is an open, welcoming venue with relatively few buildings in place, encouraging visitors to enjoy the view of the sea. This one feels like it could be a winner.

The British Museum World Conservation and Exhibitions Centre

The British Museum World Conservation and Exhibitions Centre, by Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners, is located on the north-west corner of the British Museum's site in Bloomsbury, Central London. It consists of five linked pavilions, one of which is underground, and houses a new exhibition gallery, laboratories, and conservation studios, in addition to storage and logistical facilities.

The new building is a real boon for the museum and should increase its flexibility for some time to come. For example, objects that are very large can be delivered to the British Museum World Conservation and Exhibitions Centre at street level using trucks which are then taken to the lower floors for unloading using a huge platform lift – one of the largest of its kind in Europe.

Photography Studio for Juergen Teller

This photography studio for high-profile artist and photographer Juergen Teller was designed by 6a architects and is situated in a long and narrow industrial plot in west London.

It actually consists of three buildings, while three courtyard gardens by landscape designer Dan Pearson provide outdoor space and daylight. In addition, a grid of thin concrete beams supports north facing roof lights which fill the space with filtered light. The interior is dominated by concrete, which contrasts nicely with brass balustrades, timber window frames, and the greenery in the gardens.

Barrett's Grove

This attractive little apartment building by Groupwork + Amin Taha is located in London. Its patterned brick facade is broken up by large wicker basket balconies that offer each apartment a generous outdoor space. Inside, the 635 sq m (6,835 sq ft) building is divided into six spacious apartments, each one with plenty of light inside and tastefully finished.

City of Glasgow College – City Campus

Glasgow's central, metropolitan and nautical colleges were merged into a much larger single college consisting of two buildings, bringing together facilities previously scattered around Glasgow in 11 separate buildings. The City Campus, by Reiach & Hall Architects and Michael Laird Architects, is the second building to be completed and the massive building comprises six major faculties, 300 high-tech classrooms, lecture theaters and specialist teaching facilities.

Command of the Oceans

Kent's Command of the Oceans, by Baynes and Mitchell Architects, was designed for Chatham Historic Dockyard and enables visitors to enjoy a taste of life when Britain ruled the waves with sail-powered ships. Clad in black zinc, the visitor's entrance is quite striking and visitors enter into a cathedral like hall that focuses the view towards the dockyard.

Source: RIBA

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