Stirling Prize is an award for the highest excellence in architecture in British culture. The prize is organized and awarded by the Royal Institute of British Architects to architects who contributed to the evolution of architecture. The award was founded in 1996, named after the architect James Stirling. In the years 2006 and 2009, London-based international architecture practice, Rogers Stirk Harbour and Partner were awarded the Stirling Prize.
Originally known as Richard Rogers Partnership, the firm was founded in 1977. But over time the firm renamed itself to portray the contributions of Graham Stirk and Ivan Harbour. The firm’s headquarter is located at Leadenhall Building in London, an iconic building designed by Graham Stirk. Being a global firm, the firm also has offices in Sydney and Shanghai.
The practice works on building typologies ranging from offices, residence, and education to healthcare, transport, and culture. Since the early days of practice in the 1970s, the firm’s work has been innovative, sustainable, and practical.
Richard Rogers, the principal architect at RSHP, understood the need for sustainability and focused on implementing sustainable designs through his projects. In one of his lectures for BBC, Rogers stated- “Human life has always depended on three variables: population, resources, and environment. But today, we’re perhaps the first generation to face the simultaneous impact of expanding populations, depletion of resources, and erosion of the environment. All this is common knowledge, and yet, incredibly, industrial expansion carries on regardless,”
Apart from sustainability, the firm emphasizes the celebration of public spaces and the encouragement of social gatherings.
Without further ado, let’s look into some of the inspiring award-winning projects by Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners.
The Leadenhall Building
Location- London UK
This iconic building is a 50- story tower opposite Lloyd’s in London. The distinctive feature of the building is its tapering profile designed to respect views of St. Paul’s Cathedral. The office is designed with high-quality spaces with progressively diminishing floor plate depth towards the apex which gives way to its slender shape.
Fun Fact- The inclined profile has given it an informal name of The Cheesegrater.
Unlike the other skyscraper with a central core providing structural stability, this building’s façade has a braced tube system that provides stability under wind loads and also defines the edges of office plates. The team at Rogers Stirk Harbour & Partners incorporated public space as they understand the importance of public space. The public space is seven-story in the lower levels and is provided to shops and soft landscape. This public space acts as a breath of fresh air to the dense urban fabric of London city.
The project was awarded the RIBA National award in 2018 and has an environment certificate by BREEAM Excellent.
Madrid- Barajas Airport Terminal 4
Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners was commissioned for Terminal 4 at Barajas Airport. The airport is one of the world’s largest airport terminals area-wise. The firm won the RIBA Stirling prize in 2006 for this project. The design consists of the main building and a satellite building. To provide a stress-free experience to the passengers, the circulation is functionally distributed into three linear modules, and the terminal building functions according to the passenger traffic.
The design consideration was to create an attractive, illuminating, peaceful environment. This is achieved by the use of glass panels instead of walls and skylights. The structure’s orientation in the north-south direction with primary facades facing east-west maximizes the natural light and reduces dependence on artificial light. The building is covered by a wave-shaped roof, supported on central ‘trees’ and punctuated by roof lights.
The structure is distributed over six floors with three above ground and three beneath the ground level. The roof structure is cladded with heavily insulated Chinese bamboo, permitting maximum flexibility for accommodation on each floor. This provides for any future expansion of the airport.
Location- London UK
Type- Cancer Centre
This project is a cancer care sanctuary situated in west London. The aim was to create a homely, thought-provoking, and uplifting retreat. The center is a 370 square meters open house comprising over one and a half floors. The design is flexible and adaptable: it can be noisy or quiet, transparent or opaque, and light or dark.
The center consists of four elements- a wall wrapped around four sides, the kitchen- the heart of the building, the main space conceived as meeting, sitting, and consulting space, and a floating roof that sails over the wall and provides maximum light to the space. The roof appears to be floating due to high-level clerestory glazing.
Special consideration is given to landscape to create a relaxing, noise and pollution-free backdrop. The landscape designer was Dan Pearson. The backdrop is an integral part of the center creating a visual and emotional transition from the existing hospital.
This project has garnered many awards but the highest prize was of RIBA Stirling Prize in the year 2009. This project was second to bag the Stirling Prize by the firm Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners.
- RSHP, R.S.H. + P. | (n.d.). RSHP – – Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners | RSHP. [online] www.rsh-p.com. Available at: https://www.rsh-p.com [Accessed 17 May 2022].
- Archello. (n.d.). Barajas International Airport Madrid | Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners, Estudio Lamela, MOSO Bamboo Products. [online] Available at: https://archello.com/project/barajas-international-airport-madrid [Accessed 17 May 2022].
- Dezeen. (2009). Maggie’s Centre by Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners wins Stirling Prize. [online] Available at: https://www.dezeen.com/2009/10/18/maggies-centre-by-rogers-stirk-harbour-partners-wins-stirling-prize/#:~:text=Maggie [Accessed 17 May 2022].
- RTF | Rethinking The Future. (2021). 10 Inspirational Airport designs around the world. [online] Available at: https://www.re-thinkingthefuture.com/designing-for-typologies/a2692-10-inspirational-airport-designs-around-the-world/.
- RTF | Rethinking The Future. (2022). A note about Richard Rogers. [online] Available at: https://www.re-thinkingthefuture.com/know-your-architects/a6250-a-note-about-richard-rogers/ [Accessed 17 May 2022].