The London 2012 Olympic Stadium

The Stirling Prize shortlist 2012

The six British buildings RIBA thinks are 2012's best

Judges for The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA)'s Stirling Prize, which rewards excellence in British building design, announced their 2012 short-list on Sunday. The Olympic Stadium made the cut, while buildings commissioned by TV's Kevin McCloud or Alain de Botton didn't.


The simple, restrained selection, as The Observer's Rowan Moore put it, 'reflects the zeitgeist of our straitened times, with their mistrust of extravagance and waste.' However, the winner receives the less than straitened prize of a £20,000 at a special event in Manchester on Saturday 13 October. Here's the short-list, and what RIBA has to say about them.

2012 Olympic Stadium, London (Populous)  London's key Olympic venue, which has been designed to be partly dismantled after the games.

 RIBA says: "The design adeptly dealt with an extremely demanding brief, creating on the one hand a 'temporary' venue that engages with the sustainable agenda and legacy requirements of the Games, and a landmark for the Games on the other, which, with its expressive and identifiable crown of rooftop floodlights, has already become a landmark on the skyline of the City."


Maggie's centre, Gartnavel, Glasgow (OMA)  A cancer care centre set in the grounds of Gartnavel Hospital

RIBA says: "The building is curiously introvert and extrovert at the same time. Nearly all the spaces relate to natural landscape; either to the grassy banks, tree trunks and foliage outside or to the (less successful) interior grass mound, viewed through floor-to-ceiling glass. On the other side of the building from the entrance, there is a short walk down a wooded path to a garden (believed to have been designed by the patron's daughter)."


New Court, Rothschild Bank, London (OMA (with Allies & Morrison and Pringle Brandon))  Rothschild Bank's new London headquarters.


RIBA says: "The attention to detail and combination of materials used throughout the building gives a sense of underlying, understated elegance heightened by the considered contrast of a number of carefully composed original artefacts and the quirky use of super-scale graphic extracts drawn from the Rothschild's collection of fine and decorative arts."


The Sainsbury Laboratory, Cambridge (Stanton Williams)  A botanical research centre


RIBA says: "The in-situ concrete detailing and build quality are impeccable throughout._This building is an exciting new typology, with spaces for research juxtaposed with those for education; the private and the public; the highly-technological nurture of nature with the simple enjoyment of an extended botanic garden." 


Lyric Theatre, Belfast (O'Donnell + Tuomey)  The new home for the Northern Irish capital's principal theatre


RIBA says: "The long-anticipated completion of the Lyric Theatre has proved more than worthwhile. The quality of the interior spaces, its sensitive response to a challenging site and the expansion of the Lyric's ability to function behind the scenes make this a stunning accomplishment and a pleasure to spend time in."


The Hepworth, Wakefield (David Chipperfield Architect)  A Yorkshire gallery dedicated to Wakefield-born sculptor Barbara Hepworth


RIBA says: "Visiting this building is a truly uplifting experience. It is very focussed and perfectly considered. It gives the sense of being made specifically for the work of Hepworth whilst at the same time being very much of Yorkshire, grounded and granite like. The judges considered this an affirming project on every level."