RIBA Stirling Prize awarded for 'low-cost' building in Germany

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The Independent Online

The "remarkably low-cost" Museum of Modern Literature in Germany last night won the prestigious Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) Stirling Prize for architecture.

Judges praised the economical building in Marbach am Neckar, designed by David Chipperfield Architects, as both "rich and restrained". The award is presented to the designers of the building which has been the most significant for the evolution of architecture in the past year.

The awards ceremony, in its 12th year, took place at north London's Roundhouse, broadcast on Channel 4. The prize is named after the late British architect Sir James Stirling.

The RIBA Stirling Prize jury visited all six shortlisted buildings and then met yesterday afternoon to pick the winner.

The judges commented: "Following reunification, texts of various well-known German authors which had previously been dispersed to East and West have now been brought together in this new museum."

It is the first time a building designed by David Chipperfield Architects has won. Visitors to the building cross an open terrace overlooking the valley, negotiating a series of shallow steps and before entering through giant hardwood doors.

A staircase then descends to the collections. "It is at this moment of descent," continued the judges, "that the building shows its pedigree – a sense of a progression to somewhere beyond, combined with a rich but selective palette of materials, and illuminated with subdued, top lighting."

The judges were Tom Bloxham MBE; Alain de Botton; Louisa Hutton, architect; Kieran Long, editor of The Architects' Journal; and Sunand Prasad. RIBA president.

Describing the winning building, the judges said: "This is a building that is simultaneously rich and restrained, a trick Chipperfield pulls off as well as any architect working today."

The five other contenders were: America's Cup Building, Valencia, Spain; Casa da Musica, Porto, Portugal; Dresden Station Redevelopment, Germany; The Savill Building, Windsor; The Young Vic Theatre, London.

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