Sticking to a less eccentric set of nominees than year's past, the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) just announced its shortlist for the Stirling Prize, the biggest architectural award in the UK. But within the mixed lot of mostly institutional buildings, highlighting a half-dozen of the country's more creative and exceptional new projects, Guardian critic Oliver Wainwright sees a selection that showcases the country's housing crisis, with a humble brick-clad public housing project at Darbishire Place facing off against NEO Bankside, a multi-million dollar apartment complex designed by the same firm behind the one-percenter enclave One Hyde Park. The winner of the prize will be named on October 15.
Burntwood School (Wandsworth: Allford Hall Monaghan Morris)
Photo by Timothy Soar
The bold new concrete campus, laid out with with light-filled rooms and corridors, replaced a '60s building created on site by Leslie Martin. The playful concrete window frames suggest the material can be both beautiful and Brutalist.
Darbishire Place (London: Níall McLaughlin Architects
Photo by Nick Kane
This humanistic, 13-unit apartment building offers refined proportions and details, as well as a well-conceived use of space, a great achievement for an apartment building on a tight budget.
Maggie's Lanarkshire (Lanarkshire: Reiach and Hall Architects)
Photo by David Grandorge
Another winning addition to the collection of Maggie's Centres for those with cancer, this modest, low building, defined by the brick walls, exudes calm, and could fit right in with the Modernist homes of Southern California.
NEO Bankside (London: Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners)
Photo by Edmund Sumner
Clad with an aggressive steel exo-skeleton and external lifts, this well-mannered South Bank apartment building projects power, and perhaps quite a bit of wealth.
The Whitworth at University on Manchester (Manchester: MUMA)
Photo by Alan Williams
The extension of the 19th century Whitworth Gallery adds a modern touch without disturbing the already incredible design on site, adding another winner to a long list of sleek museum renovations from this past year.
University of Greenwich Stockwell Street Building (London: Heneghan Peng)
Photo by Hufton + Crow
Located in a UNESCO World Heritage Site, this new building takes full advantage of a small, oddly shaped site to provide a new oddly shaped home for the main university library and the departments of Architecture, Landscape and Arts.