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Last Updated: Thursday, 28 July 2005, 10:14 GMT 11:14 UK
Vote on the year's best building
Here are the six buildings which are lining up for an annual prestigious architecture prize, and a chance to make your own choice.

The £20,000 Stirling prize, awarded each year by the Royal Institute of British Architects, aims to set an example to architects working all over the UK.

The buildings are each remarkable in their own way, but now's your chance to see them for yourself and cast your vote.


This building, designed by Zaha Hadid Architects, lets you know immediately that car production is its central function thanks, the judges say, "to the nice conceit of half-finished Beamers gliding above your head on elevated conveyor tracks, making their silent stately way between the body shop and the paint shop, weaving above 500 office and production staff".

They add: "This building appears amongst the perfunctory BMW complex as powerful yet svelte - its form is a discrete sinew connecting to the blandness of the two sheds that make up the rest of an efficient looking car production plant which covers 400,000 square metres, the size of 50 football pitches."

ODDS: 5-1


This gallery is in a key position at the entrance of the university. "On two sides it has a civic role in addressing the University and City beyond, on the other two a completely different, almost picturesque role, in settling into an important mature landscape," say the judges. "That the building handles this difficult tension with apparent ease is the first mark of the incredible skill that the architects have brought to it."

They add that the building, whose architects were O'Donnell + Tuomey, "occupies the tight footprint of two previous tennis courts, but inside has a Tardis quality through the continuity of route and space."

ODDS: 7-2


The Scottish Parliament, reviewed in the Magazine last August in this story by Jonathan Duffy, has been the source of great controversy, mainly because of its overrun budget.

But the judges were impressed with the quality of the building, whose architects were EMBT/RMJM Ltd, calling it "a remarkable architectural statement which has an enormous impact not only on the visitors to the building but also on the users who repeatedly move through a series of extraordinary spaces and their changing effects".

They add: "In its context the building manifests itself as an attempt at an organic transition between the city and the drama of the Scottish countryside surrounding it. An extremely successful landscaping makes this transition even more striking."

ODDS: 5-1


Foster and Partners' new headquarters for McLaren, built on a 50-hectare site, includes design studios, laboratories, testing facilities, electronics workshops, prototyping and production facilities for the company's Formula One cars and the Mercedes Benz SLR McLaren.

The judges said: "You arrive at the building having travelled around the lake, in Norman Foster's words, 'As if driving up to a country house.' The experience is perhaps more akin to Arthur C Clarke than Agatha Christie.

"The curved glazed façade suddenly appears in view, at first concealed by large undulating grass mounds, it stands alone except for its own reflection in the lake."

ODDS: 5-2 joint favourite


This library, from Bennetts Associates with Lomax Cassidy, is "clearly intended as a civic building of importance" say the judges. "The blue-tiled, glass-fronted library faces the sea and is a simple, energy-efficient building with a good measure of style as befits this swaggering seaside city."

They add that the glass façade is "imposing, dissolving at night to expose the powerful library interior".

"The main library space is excellent with warm timber clad side walls, excellent concrete detailing and good natural lighting, the space is both monument and at the same time inviting. It is a joy to be in."

ODDS: 5-2 joint favourite


This children's centre is a three-storey high building (architects Alsop Design Ltd) made from refurbished sea containers.

"Under a part translucent, part opaque pitched roof the enclosure is made from stainless steel mesh which incorporates coloured lozenges at the upper level where the mesh adopts a series of waved profiles," say the judges.

"The resultant spaces between the cage and the containers accommodate different play areas and a yurt."

The centre will include a small unit for children with special needs, mostly autism, alongside an existing nursery school for three- to five-year-olds. It will also provide space for adults' access to education.

The judges said: "The enthusiastic Head reported that her charges seemed to be considerably healthier since the new building opened - a fine example of the beneficial effects of good architecture." ODDS: 7-1

Which is your favourite?
BMW, Leipzig
Lewis Glucksman Gallery, Cork
Scottish Parliament, Edinburgh
McLaren Centre, Woking
Jubilee Library, Brighton
Fawood Children's Centre, Harlesden
21593 Votes Cast
Results are indicative and may not reflect public opinion
So now it's time to make your choice. Cast your vote here.

The eventual winner of the prize - which was previously won by the London Gherkin (30 St Mary Axe), the Gateshead Millennium Bridge, and the NatWest Media Centre at Lord's - will be announced in October.


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