RIBA prize for two Oxford buildings

‘Unprecedented’ two Oxford buildings shortlisted for RIBA Stirling Prize

Two Oxford University buildings have been shortlisted for the 2016 RIBA Stirling Prize for the UK’s best new building.

Among six nominees are the Blavatnik School of Government (above), designed by Herzog & de Meuron, and the Weston Library, designed by WilkinsonEyre. Both projects were carried out by the University’s Estates Services.

In the official announcement about the shortlist, the Prize team described the appearance of two projects from one institution on the list as “unprecedented”.

They said: “The Blavatnik School of Government, a contemporary new building in a conservation area takes the traditional Oxford quad and tears up the rule book; Herzog & de Meuron have created a succession of wide twisting staircases, offset balconies and communal spaces that encourage greater debate and interaction for aspiring civil servants and politicians.

“Elsewhere in Oxford, WilkinsonEyre have opened up the Bodleian’s Weston Library to the world. This Giles Gilbert Scott grade II listed gem was once rather insular but has been transformed by a bold new glazed mezzanine to reveal to the public the treasures contained inside.”

RIBA president, Jane Duncan, added: “With the dominance of university and further education buildings on the shortlist, it is clear that quality architecture’s main patrons this year are from the education sector. I commend these enlightened clients and supporters who have bestowed such remarkable education buildings.

“Sponsors, such as the Blavatnik Family Foundation, the Garfield Weston Foundation, and Damien Hirst are continuing in the proud history of private patronage of architecture, and their continued support contrasts the slump in publicly-funded architecture.”

“We are delighted and honoured that the Weston Library has been shortlisted for prestigious Stirling Prize,” said Richard Ovenden, Bodley’s Librarian.

“Wilkinson Eyre’s innovative transformation of Gilbert Scott’s Grade II listed building has created a stunning and incredibly popular space where visitors and scholars can explore the Bodleian’s historic collections.”

The full list of nominees can be found here.

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