Leaf Winner Nominated for Sterling Prize

27 July 2007 (Last Updated July 27th, 2007 07:00)

Winner of the 2007 Leaf Awards, David Chipperfield Architects has been nominated for yet another prestigious prize – this time the coveted Royal British Architects Sterling Prize.

Winner of the 2007 Leaf Awards, David Chipperfield Architects has been nominated for yet another prestigious prize – this time the coveted Royal British Architects Sterling Prize.

Chipperfield's America's Cup Foredeck Building, in Valencia, Spain — the centrepiece of a former industrial port designed as a central base for the America's Cup teams – is now a top contender for the prize, to be judged on October 6 this year.

The understated design from the Camden-based architect will be up against other favourites such as the Dresden Station redevelopment in Germany by Foster and Partners and the Casa da Musica Concert Hall, designed by the Portugal Office for Metropolitan Architecture.

Other competitors include the Savill Building in Windsor, the Young Vic Theatre in London and one of Chipperfield's older designs, the Museum of Modern Literature, in Marbach am Neckar, Germany.

But there is little doubt that the America's Building is the entry receiving the most attention for Chipperfield in this year's competition.

"That the building has been recognised as the best overall design is a very reassuring acknowledgement for us," Chipperfield told the Leaf Awards, run in conjunction with designbuild-network, in January.

The four-story America's Cup Building consists of a row of elevated spectator decks which stretch out to the port featuring bars, and other social hubs.

The building itself is a concrete structure with deep, cantilevered floor slabs creating shaded viewing decks. White painted steel frames the edges of these minimal concrete structures, while metal paints used on the ceiling create lighting elements.

David Chipperfield Architects' Victoria-Jessen Pike says the foredeck is, however, not the firm's most ambitious project to date. She says Chipperfield is currently working on the development of an archaeological promenade around Germany's Museumsinsel (Museum Island) which houses the Altes Museum, the Dom, the Neus Museaum and more.

"We are trying to be both [a British and global company]," Jessen-Pike says.

For the America's Cup Foredeck Building Jessen-Pike says the firm worked in collaboration with Barcelona-based practice b720 Arquitectos.

"Every project that is not in the UK, we enjoy working with the local architect," Jessen-Pike says.

However, this does not mean Chipperfield would not like to do more in his home city of London.

Earlier this week, Chipperfield himself made headlines in UK newspaper The Guardian after criticising British developers for not taking risks and promoting innovative architecture.

He says the British have been 'too cautious' about design, which is reflected in the location of the buildings in this year's Sterling shortlist.

By Penny Jones