MAXXI, the National Museum of XXI Century Arts in Rome by Zaha Hadid Architects has won the coveted £20,000 RIBA Stirling Prize 2010, in association with The Architects Journal and Benchmark.
The presentation of the UK’s premier architectural award took place at a special awards ceremony this evening (Saturday 2 October) at The Roundhouse in London, and was televised live on BBC Two’s The Culture Show at 6.30pm.
British acclaim had so far evaded Hadid, 59, who in 2004 became the first woman to win the Pritzker Prize for Architecture, her profession’s highest distinction. She had been nominated three other times for the Stirling, the U.K.’s top architecture award, and lost every time.
Commenting on MAXXI, the judges said:
‘MAXXI is described as a building for the staging of art, and whilst provocative at many levels, this project shows a calmness that belies the complexities of its form and organisation. The nature of the project means everything has to be over-specified – throughout the design process the architects had no idea what the series of rooms would be used to hang, so walls which will bear a ton of rusting steel might be graced by miniatures.
The museum, for all its structural pyrotechnics, is rationally organised as five main suites. The building is bravely day lit with a sinuous roof of controllable skylights, louvres and beams which orientate and excite the visitor and create uplifting spaces.
This is a mature piece of architecture, the distillation of years of experimentation, only a fraction of which ever got built. It is the quintessence of Zaha’s constant attempt to create a landscape as a series of cavernous spaces drawn with a free, roving line. The resulting piece, rather than prescribing routes, gives the visitor a sense of exploration. It is perhaps her best work to date.’
RIBA President, Ruth Reed announced the winner. Editor of The Architects’ Journal, Christine Murray, awarded the £20,000 cheque and Gilbert McCarthy, MD of Benchmark presented the certificate to Zaha Hadid, Patrik Schumacher and Gianluca Racana and client and President of the MAXXI Foundation, Pio Baldi.
Speaking tonight, RIBA President Ruth Reed said:
‘In MAXXI we have a much deserved winner, and I am delighted to award Zaha Hadid Architects with architecture’s highest accolade.’
This is the first time Zaha Hadid Architects has been awarded the RIBA Stirling Prize, having been shortlisted for the prize on three previous occasions (Nord Park Cable Railway, Austria, 2008; Phaeno Science Center, Wolfsburg, Germany, 2006; BMW Central Building, Leipzig, Germany, 2005).
MAXXI was chosen from the following outstanding shortlisted entries:
- Ashmolean Museum, Oxford by Rick Mather Architects
- Bateman’s Row, London by Theis and Khan
- Christ’s College School, Guildford by DSDHA
- Clapham Manor Primary School, London by dRMM
- Neues Museum, Berlin by David Chipperfield Architects with Julian Harrap Architects
The 2010 RIBA Stirling Prize judges were Ruth Reed, RIBA President (chair); Ivan Harbour, architect, Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners; Edward Jones, architect; Dixon Jones, Professor; Lisa Jardine, historian and writer; and Mark Lawson, broadcaster.
The winners of five Special Awards were also announced this evening:
- St Luke’s CE Primary School in Wolverhampton by Architype has won the 2010 RIBA Sorrell Foundation Schools Award.
- The Pier Head & Canal Link, Liverpool by AECOM has won the 2010 RIBA CABE Public Space Award.
- The Artists House, a private house and office in Kensington, London by Gumuchdjian Architects, has won the 2010 Stephen Lawrence Prize.
- The Neues Museum in Berlin, Germany by David Chipperfield Architects in collaboration with Julian Harrap, has won the 2010 Crown Estate Conservation Award.
- Hammerson have been named the 2010 RIBA Client of the Year supported by the Bloxham Charitable Trust.