Laboratory wins architecture prize
The Olympic Stadium failed to gain its final gold medal of a momentous year, after it was pipped to the UK's most coveted architecture prize.
The 80,000-capacity stadium, by Populous, was one of six new buildings to be shortlisted for the Royal Institute of British Architects' (Riba) Stirling Prize.
But the £20,000 prize went to £82 million Sainsbury Laboratory, a new plant science research centre in Cambridge designed by first-time winners Stanton Williams, at the ceremony in Manchester.
The judges described the laboratory as a timeless piece of architecture, a university building "taken to an extraordinary degree of sophistication and beauty".
Riba president Angela Brady said: "The Sainsbury Laboratory is an exceptional building that achieves at many levels - in blending a world-class science facility with a public social space in a highly energy efficient building. It is testament to the skill, experience and imagination of Stanton Williams architects that they have found a creative solution to this complex project."
The Stirling Prize is in its 17th year and celebrates the best of new British architecture.
The judging panel was led by Sir Nicholas Grimshaw, the architect and former president of the Royal Academy; Sir Mark Jones - master of St Cross College Oxford and former director of the Victoria and Albert Museum; architects Joanna van Heyningen and Hilde Daem; and the designer, writer and broadcaster Naomi Cleaver.
In their judgment, they said: "The Sainsbury Laboratory is a timeless piece of architecture, sitting within a highly sensitive site, one overlooking the woods where Darwin walked with his tutor and mentor (John Stevens) Henslow, discussing the origin of species. The project is both highly particular and specialised, and at the same time a universal building type, taken to an extraordinary degree of sophistication and beauty."
Funded by Lord Sainsbury's Gatsby Foundation charity, the centre that bears his name is part of the University of Cambridge. It was praised for its energy efficiency and green approach. Rainwater is collected from the roof and stored in two huge tanks which irrigate the garden's glasshouse and plant chambers. Lord Sainsbury said that he was "very proud" to be associated with the inspiring building.
The other shortlisted buildings were David Chipperfield Architects' Hepworth Wakefield gallery in Yorkshire, OMA's Maggie's Centre at Gartnavel Hospital in Glasgow, the new Rothschild's Bank building at New Court in London designed by OMA with Allies and Morrison; and Belfast's Lyric Theatre by O'Donnell + Tuomey.