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Last Updated: Saturday, 14 October 2006, 20:55 GMT 21:55 UK
Airport scoops architecture prize
New Area Terminal, Barajas Airport, Madrid
Lord Rogers' firm has won the prize for the first time
Madrid's Barajas Airport has won the UK's most prestigious architecture award, the 20,000 Stirling Prize.

The colourful 1.2km-long Spanish airport building was designed by the Richard Rogers Partnership.

It is the first time the firm has won the Royal Institute of British Architects (Riba) prize.

The prize is awarded to architects for the building that has made the greatest contribution to British architecture in the past year.

'Spectacular spaces'

The judges said of the design: "Whatever the means of approach, by air or by land, the sheer scale and complexity of what has been tackled and achieved here cannot be overestimated.

The National Assembly for Wales, Cardiff
The Brick House, west London
Phaeno Science Centre, Wolfsburg, Germany
Idea Store, east London
Evelina Children's Hospital, south-east London
Barajas Airport, Madrid, Spain

"In response to the key challenge - that of efficiently processing constantly changing passenger flows and associated luggage handling - the resulting building presents a straightforward linear diagram in the form of a clear sequence of spectacular spaces for both departing and arriving passengers."

Lord Rogers told the BBC: "We've tried to make it a palace of fun as well as an airport.

"It's all about colour and light and space and transparency and it's all about making people look as though they are important in that space; they're not squashed by low ceilings or dominated by retail and shops, you've got great views out to planes and landscape and we have a fantastic landscape all the way around the site."

Other nominees included the National Assembly for Wales in Cardiff, the Phaeno Science Center in Wolfsburg, Germany, a family home in west London, Evelina Children's Hospital in south-east London, and the Idea store in Whitechapel, east London.

The prize, named after Scots-born architect Sir James Stirling and now in its 11th year, was awarded at the Roundhouse in Camden, north London.

Past winners include the Scottish Parliament building, the "Gherkin" in the City of London and Gateshead's Millennium Bridge.

Views of the award-winning Barajas Airport in Madrid

In pictures: Stirling Prize
25 Aug 06 |  In Pictures

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