AD Interviews: Stephen Hodder, RIBA President

Courtesy of Mies. UK

ArchDaily recently got the chance to speak to Stephen Hodder, current President of the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) at his practice in Manchester. Best known as the recipient of the inaugural RIBA Stirling Prize in 1996 (for the Centenary Building), Hodder was educated at the University of Manchester’s School of Architecture, he’s perhaps best known as the recipient of the inaugural RIBA Stirling Prize in 1996 for the Centenary Building and was awarded an MBE for services to architecture in 1998.

Having been officially in the role for only two months, Hodder spent some time with us discussing his hopes for the next two years. Find out why he described himself as a fan of Scandinavians and prog-rock after the break…

The Gherkin: How London’s Famous Tower Leveraged Risk and Became an Icon

How does design change the nature and distribution of risk? In this, the first of four installments examining the Gherkin, the office tower and urban icon designed by Foster + Partners, author Jonathan Massey introduces the concept of “risk design.” The series, originally published on Aggregate’s website, explains how the Gherkin leveraged perceptions of risk to generate profits, promote economic growth, and raise the currency of design expertise.

Designing Risk

Back the Bid. Leap for London. Make Britain Proud. Emblazoned across photomontages of oversized athletes jumping over, diving off, and shooting for architectural landmarks old and new, these slogans appeared in 2004 on posters encouraging Londoners to support the city’s bid to host the 2012 Olympic Games. Featured twice in the series of six posters—along with Buckingham Palace, Nelson’s Column, the Tower Bridge, the London Eye, and the Thames Barrier—was 30 St Mary Axe, the office tower known colloquially as the Gherkin for its resemblance to a pickle, or as the Swiss Re building, after the Zurich-based reinsurance company that commissioned the building and remains its major tenant.

London Calling: The Man Behind the Stirling Prize

B. Braun Melsungen AG Headquarters and Industrial Complex, Melsungen, Germany, 1993. Giovanni Chiaramonte, photographer. Canadian Centre for Architecture. . Image © Giovanni Chiaramonte

A few weeks ago the RIBA doled out the 18th Stirling Prize to -based architects Witherford Watson Mann. The decision was a good one. It was good for WWM and good for the profession – a youngish practice being recognized for a small but beautiful piece of work.

The scheme’s application of brickwork and joinery removes the work from the expediencies of modern construction technology and building products, which almost exclusively characterize the contemporary built environment. It genuinely feels like a project made at a different point in history, the result of the quite particular interests of three minds, Stephen Witherford, Chris Watson and William Mann. It is direct and personal. It reminds me of Stirling’s work..

And not just for its powerful draftsmanship, plan and restricted palette of materials, but for its intimacy. An intimacy that is apparent in much of Stirling’s oeuvre. I do not refer to the production of intimate spaces per se but the formulation of an architecture that is authored not by a factory but a few minds.

The latest Stirling prompted me to look back, and reconsider the work of Stirling himself.

Critical Round-Up: Stirling Prize 2013

/ Witherford Watson Mann. Image © Helene Binet, courtesy

Following the news that the 2013 RIBA Stirling Prize was been won by Witherford Watson Mann for Astley Castle at a ceremony in London last week, the critical response to the project has been extremely positive. Joseph Rykwert (who recently won the RIBA Gold Medal) said that “Witherford Watson Mann have been gentle surgeons, saving the essential, eliminating the incidental”. Check out the critical responses from The Financial Times’ Edwin Heathcote, The Guardian’s Oliver Wainwright, Building Design’s Ellis Woodman, and the Architects’ Journal’s Rory Olcayto after the break…

RIBA Stirling Prize Winners: How Prize-Worthy Are They?

The Scottish Parliament, winner in 2005 has experienced multiple problems. Image © Dave Morris Photography

With Astley Castle winning this year’s Stirling Prize last week, Olly Wainwright investigates the fortunes of other Stirling Prize winners – finding that in many cases critical acclaim and awards do not necessarily translate to long term success. His study brings into question what qualities should be awarded, and seems to imply that there should be a greater focus on post-occupancy awards, such as the 10-year award started by the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat’s (CTBUH) this year, and another being considered by the RIBA. You can read Wainwright’s full investigation here.

Astley Castle Wins the 2013 RIBA Stirling Prize

2013 Stirling Prize Winner: Astley Castle, Nuneaton, Warwickshire / Witherford Watson Mann. Image © Helene Binet

The 2013 RIBA Stirling Prize has been won by Witherford Watson Mann for Astley Castle (Nuneaton, Warwickshire). The winner was just announced at a ceremony at ’s Central Saint Martins, a building designed by last year’s winner Stanton Williams. Astley Castle was also voted as BBC readers’ favourite earlier this week. Jury-member Stephen Hodder stated that “engaging with the building was such a surprise for [the jury],” and described it as an ”unassuming” building with great “rigour.”

Stephen Hodder Inaugurated as 75th President of the RIBA

Stephen Hodder, the newly inaugurated President of RIBA. Image © Ed Tyler, www.edtyler.com

Following Angela Brady’s two year tenure as head of the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA), Stephen Hodder MBE was officially inaugurated as the 75th President of the ’s largest architectural body yesterday. Hodder, perhaps best known as the recipient of the first RIBA Stirling Prize in 1996 for the Centenary Building (University of Salford, UK), is chairman of the award-winning practice Hodder + Partners in (UK).

RIBA Shortlist for Stirling Prize Announced

UPDATED: Out of 52 exemplars of UK architecture, RIBA has chosen the six buildings that will compete for the prestigious (awarded to the building that makes the greatest contribution to British architecture that year). See the six contenders, including a video of each, after the break…

Critical Round-Up: Reactions to the Stirling Prize Shortlist

Most critics agree that this year’s shortlist for the Stirling Prize is more “modest” than in past years – which is not to say that they didn’t have plenty to say on ’s selection. Check out the critical responses from The Financial Times Edwin Heathcoate, The Guardian’s Oliver Wainwright and The Independent’s Jay Merrick, after the break…

2012 RIBA Stirling Prize Shortlist Revealed

Olympic Stadium, / Populous © LOCOG

The Royal Institute of British Architecture () has released the shortlist for this year’s Stirling Prize, the ’s most prestigious architecture prize that is presented annually to the ‘building that has made the greatest contribution to the evolution of architecture in the past year’. This year’s six shortlisted projects range from seemingly simple yet highly innovative London Olympic Stadium to the thoughtful and intimate Maggie’s Cancer Centre in Glasgow. The winner will be announced in October at the RIBA Stirling Prize dinner.

Follow the break for the complete shortlist and more details about the RIBA Stirling Prize.

Zaha Hadid wins 2011 RIBA Stirling Prize

© Luke Hayes

For the second year in a row, Zaha Hadid was announced as the winner of the prestigious RIBA Stirling Prize.  Often labeled as ’s most important architecture award, Hadid will be awarded £20,000 for her design of the Evelyn Grace Academy in .  Recognizing the ‘architects of the building that has made the greatest contribution to the evolution of architecture in the past year’, to be considered the project must be built in Britain or the architects head office must be in the UK.

Zaha Hadid’s Evelyn Grace Academy was shortlisted for the RIBA Stirling Prize along with O’Donnell and Tuomey’s An Gaelaras, David Chipperfield Architects’s Folkwang Museum , AHMM’s Angel Building, Bennetts Associates’s Royal Shakespeare Theatre, and the Velodrome by Hopkins Architects.  Last year Hadid was awarded the prize for her design of the MAXXI Museum of Modern Art in Rome.

This year’s award was a bit controversial; former president of the RIBA, George Ferguson’s reaction, ‘This is an appalling result and the worst decision since the Magna Centre beat Girmshaw’s Eden Project to win the Stirling Prize in 2001. It’s a great big own goal. It is also the worst possible message to send to [education secretary] Michael Gove. In fact it reinforces his case. A good school is one that can be replicated. But this can’t. It’s a one-off. The prize [has become] an award from architects for architects. It makes me angry.’

More reactions regarding the 2011 Stirling Prize can be found at the Architects Journal.

RIBA Stirling Prize Shortlist 2011 Revealed

Evelyn Grace Academy / Zaha Hadid Architects © Luke Hayes

The Royal Institute of British Architecture (RIBA) recently released the shortlist for this year’s , ’s most prestigious architecture prize. Presented annually to the architects of the ‘building that has made the greatest contribution to the evolution of architecture in the past year’ this year’s six shortlisted projects range from the most expensive city academy school every built to a 1932 refurbished theater.  The winner will be announced in October at the RIBA Stirling Prize dinner, held at the Magna Science and Adventure Centre in Rotherham, winner of the 2001 RIBA Stirling Prize.

Follow the break for the complete shortlist and more details about the RIBA Stirling Prize.

RIBA takes the Stirling Prize to the BBC

© José Miguel Hernández Hernández

The RIBA has announced that this year’s Stirling Prize will be shown on BBC Two’s The Culture Show, after viewing figures dipped to an all time low on Channel 4 last year.

The awards ceremony will continue to be hosted by Kevin McCloud but will be shown in an earlier slot, airing from 6.30 pm on Saturday October 2 live from London’s Roundhouse.

Only 500,000 viewers tuned to watch Rogers Stirk Harbour’s Maggies Center win the Stirling Prize live on Channel 4 last October, falling from 1.2 million in 2004.

The show was broadcast between 8pm-9pm and the RIBA blamed the low viewing figures on a clash with the X Factor and Strictly Come Dancing. But the figures prompted calls from the architectural community to rethink the format of the show, which has been broadcast on national television for ten years.

RIBA president Ruth Reed described the new union between the RIBA and the BBC as “fantastic”. Mark Bell, the BBC’s commissioning editor for art, said: “As part of the BBC’s commitment to the arts we’re delighted to be shining the light on the very best in British architecture. The Culture Show, which reflects the best of the cultural landscape, is the perfect vehicle for delivering a strong live programme about architecture.”

Seen at bdonline.