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Saturday, 20 November, 1999, 04:48 GMT
Bowled over by Lord's
The media centre at Lord's has caused plenty of controversy

The media centre at Lord's cricket ground has won the UK's most prestigious architecture prize.

Architects Future Systems won the 20,000 Stirling Prize for Architecture for their controversial design at the London ground.

It may not be the future but it works
Stirling Prize judges
The judges described the 5m building, which towers over the east end of Lord's and was designed to house 250 journalists, as "an instant icon".

They added: "It is a breath of architectural fresh air. It is its own thing, completely unusual and totally uncompromising ... It's a complete one-off - a wacky solution to a singular problem. It may not be the future but it works."

The striking centre has transformed the appearance of the ground seen as the home of cricket, dominating the skyline with its oblong bubble shape and contrasting with the more traditional architecture at the Pavilion End.

It beat the new National Museum of Scotland into second place. The museum, designed by architects Benson and Forsyth, attracted mixed reaction when it opened at the end of 1998, sited amidst the traditional architecture of central Edinburgh.

The award is given by the Royal Institute of British Architects to the UK-affiliated architect whose building is judged to have made the greatest contribution to British and European architecture in the past year.

Pipped at the post: The new National Museum of Scotland
It was presented by Scottish deputy arts minister Rhona Brankin at Kelvingrove Art Gallery in Glasgow, marking a high point in the city's year as City of Architecture and Design 1999.

"The making of good buildings - the creation of architecture - is a formidable task. It requires imagination, persistence, diplomacy and, often, sheer bloody-mindedness," said Ms Brankin.

"It is not an activity for the nervous or faint-hearted. In the status that it has acquired, the Stirling Prize reflects this.

"The prize is a recognition of outstanding achievement and of the very special skills necessary for the making of outstanding architecture."

Other buildings on the shortlist included the rebuilt Reichstag in Berlin, designed by Foster and Partners, The River and Rowing Museum at Henley on Thames, and North Greenwich Jubilee Line underground station in London.

Stratford Regional Station in London, AG Marketing and Training Building, Stuhlingen in Germany, and Ranelagh Multi-denominational School, Dublin, completed the list.

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See also:
20 Nov 98 |  UK
Air museum beats British Library to prize
06 Oct 98 |  Europe
Reconstructing the Reichstag

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