The National Stadium in Beijing - nicknamed 'the bird's nest' - by Herzog & de Meuron, with the China Architectural Design and research Group, Arup Sport and Ove Arup and Partners Hong Kong, and artist Ai Wei Wei, has scooped the Royal Institute of British Architects
' (RIBA) prestigious Lubetkin Prize for the most outstanding work of architecture outside the European Union by an RIBA member.
The presentation of the RIBA's Lubetkin Prize will take place at a ceremony tonight (14th July) at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Whitehall, sponsored by Cosentino and in partnership with UK Trade & Investment (UKTI). Winners of 2009 RIBA International Awards will also receive their awards at the ceremony.
Speaking about the building, the Lubetkin Prize judge and RIBA President, Sunand Prasad said:
"This year's shortlist for the Lubetkin Prize was easily the best we have seen, and although the discussion was intense, the result was clear. The National Stadium in Beijing will for a long time to come, and around the world, remain amongst the most memorable emblems of 2008 and of the resurgence of China as a global power. For a single work of architecture to hold such a charge is extremely rare, and at the same time to flawlessly accommodate a very complex set of functions makes the feat still more extraordinary. We would like to thank our partner, UKTI and sponsor, Cosentino, for supporting this awards reception."
The National Stadium, Beijing beat off stiff competition from five other shortlisted buildings: Beijing Capital International Airport Terminal 3 by Foster and Partners with NACO, the Beijing Institute of Architectural Design and Arup; Watercube, National Swimming Centre, Beijing by PTW Architects with the China State Construction & Engineering Corporation, China State Construction Design International and Arup; Museum Brandhorst, Munich by sauerbruch hutton; Sean O'Casey Community Centre, Dublin by O'Donnell and Tuomey; and The British High Commission, Colombo, Sri Lanka, by Richard Murphy Architects.
The six shortlisted buildings were seen by a visiting jury comprising Sunand Prasad, RIBA President and chair, Paul Monaghan, architect and Chair of the RIBA Awards Group and Tony Chapman, RIBA Head of Awards, who reported to the full jury which also comprised Alison Brooks, architect and Tom Dyckhoff, journalist.
Lord Mervyn Davies, Minister for Trade, Investment and Business whose organisation UKTI helps UK companies win business overseas, handed out the awards. Talking of UK architectural talent, he said:
"Our architects and architecture schools are world-renowned for their flair and excellence. From state of the art airports to iconic cultural and sporting institutions, stunning examples of British architecture and engineering can be found the world over.Architecture is now truly international in influence and scope. Tonight we celebrate many international partnerships which add great strength to the architecture profession especially during the current climate."
The prize is named after the world-renowned architect Berthold Lubetkin (1901-1990). Lubetkin's daughter Sasha presented the winning architects with a unique cast bronze plaque, based loosely on her father's design for the Penguin Pool at London Zoo, commissioned by the RIBA and designed and made by the artist Petr Weigl.