New football stadium scores as architectural draw

LIZ SEARL
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LIZ SEARL

Traditionalists would be horrified but the fans are ecstatic - the Royal Institute of British Architects has bestowed a regional award on Huddersfield Town's new football stadium.

The institute decided the Alfred McAlpine Stadium, unfinished home of Huddersfield's football and rugby league clubs, was so outstanding they ranked it "one of the best stadium designs this country has to offer".

Supermarkets were also honoured; Sainsbury's spectacular superstore in Plymouth won the jury's admiration for its glow-in-the-dark sails which cover a walkway to the store. The brick-built main building has been depressed 4 metres into the ground to reduce its prominence.

The most controversial winner was the Thames Water tower barometer on the Holland Park/Shepherd's Bush roundabout in west London. The public barometer was built after a competition by Thames Water and the Royal College of Art to find a use for a steel surge pipe. "There was considerable discussion as to whether the structure constituted a work of architecture," the jury said. "However, such is the inspirational nature of the tower the panel felt its qualities transcended this question."

Another winner, the Liverpool Watersports Centre, was selected for its original design - it is built entirely in the water its customers use. The building is connected to floating pontoons around a fixed deck.

The regional winners form a shortlist for Riba's National Award and Building of the Year, to be announced in November.

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