Royal Institute of British Architects selects its 2014 award winners
The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) has announced the winners of its annual National Awards and European Awards. As was the case last year, the awards are a good opportunity to gauge the current state of top-tier architecture in that part of the world. There's total of 56 winners in all – 44 from the UK and 12 from elsewhere in Europe. Those 56 will eventually be whittled down to 12, before just one is given RIBA's Stirling Award on October 16.
The majority of this year's winners tend to be either large-scale public buildings, or small residential projects – with relatively few commercial and privately-owned buildings. RIBA's judges are of the opinion that this polarization is a result of the recession, and it's a trend that may well continue for some years.
The standout British building is, of course, Renzo Piano's Shard. However, Mecanoo's Library of Birmingham also makes the grade, and Haworth Tompkins' sympathetic renovation of the London Library, which was completed at a cost of £6.9 million (US$11.75 million), impresses by not impressing, but rather remaining true to the building's character.
Elsewhere in Europe, Denmark wins big – literally – with BIG's Danish Maritime Museum and 3XN's Blue Planet Aquarium winning praise from RIBA's judges. Other notable entries in the EU include Zaha Hadid's Departments Of Law And Central Administration in Vienna University, and Munich's Lenbachhaus by Foster + Partners.
"This year’s RIBA National Award winners show that exceptional architecture can be found anywhere: on any high street, in any village or town, and with any budget," said RIBA President Stephen Hodder. "It is evident that each building on this year’s list has been a labor of love but worth every penny and effort."
Head to the photo gallery for a selection of both UK and European projects.
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Much of modern architecture suffers from the fact that most architects are artists and not engineers and have very little to no idea about the materials and/or shapes they use - the best example of that was the Sydney opera house where the architect had absolutely no idea how to build the structure, although it was quite a nice pay packet for us engineers to make it build-able.
I have been looking at many articles about trends in architecture, and the stamp of time seems not a concern. If these structures are High Maintenance Queens, well that is another generation's problem. As you point out, most architects are artists and not engineers providing some nice coin for actual engineers to sort out on how to actually do the building.
Only some of the buildings shown here, in my opinion, start off with some grace in design. While I have yet to visit London, I have friends that have, one currently, and another that lives near London. A common theme of comment is that many of the modern buildings stand out as glaring distractions to the eye. It is as if Doctor Who's nemesis aliens have started colonization putting in their own oddly shaped and cold looking buildings. Proposed structures show recently on Gizmag, well some scream Insectoid. Actual human beings are just scattered about as bio decorations.
My experience in building a grand 3 story house in the mountains of Colorado threw some fascinating challenges at me and my partner. Thankfully, we followed in the footsteps of some experience in such matters and demanding building codes! Per snow & ice building loads, we are talking about sudden massive tons of weight. I have seen decks snap like toothpicks when not done right, when done cheaply... We took this as a challenge to do it right for what passes as The Ages in a harsh climate. Forrest Fires, are the first killer of structures in the Rockies and then roof issues...
Anyway, as I have replied before, 30 to 40 years seem to be the general life span of some of the shown structures, and as mentioned previously, as the roofs degrade, mold becomes the final killer. In London, where rain is a near constant at times, I doubt that longevity here is thought of.