After the Stirling Prize televising on Saturday night I wrote a blog post about what non- architects thought about it (the TV programme and the awards). The post has garnered some great comments and I wanted to look at these and pose a new question which we might be able to use to generate some ideas here.
Darren asked a great question about public opinion, and yes, there is a public vote on the RIBA website, though I didn’t know about this myself in advance. The Ashmolean Museum won the public vote, by the way (Neues Museum was second).
Martin Brown made a great point about how limiting the programme made the award criteria seem – or were they really that limiting?
From the Stirling Prize description on the RIBA Website:
“is presented to the architects of the building which has been the most significant for the evolution of architecture in the past year.”
From the RIBA press release on the shortlisting:
“The shortlisted buildings will be judged on a range of criteria including design vision, innovation and originality, capacity to stimulate engage and delight occupants and visitors, accessibility and sustainability, how fit the building is for its purpose and the level of client satisfaction.”
Not much there about the life of the building then, Martin.
So where do we go from here?
Yes, the awards are about the architecture (not the structural design, thanks for clearing that up guys) and the RIBA want to award the architect. OK I don’t mind that. What bothers me about them is how they get televised and what that says to the public about what matters to the RIBA about architecture. (And I guess, what it says to everyone about what matters about architecture).
I love architecture, and being an ordinary person who fell into it rather than having it passed down in my genes or injected at birth, I think ordinary people can ‘get’ architecture and benefit from it. They certainly suffer from the failures, so why not?
With this in mind I think we could think of much better content for the BBC’s architecture budget (if they have one) than televising what Chris Witte pointed out to us is just a tiny part of the prize giving.
Alternative, Useful TV shows
We already have some great ideas coming out of the comments in the last post – here are some of my thoughts so far:
- How about a TV series to demonstrate the myriad of complexities of modern buildings and how teams work together to make them happen?
- How about a TV show about how architecture actually makes money (not just saves it) and much more than it costs? Money has a place here too.
- How about a TV show that investigate how building lifespans have changed – how they are calculated, evaluated and designed, and all the technology and teamwork (and financials) that go into that?
- How about a programme about the problems of adapting old buildings and how good design can solve them? This is a great subject because of course everyone loves old buildings but no-one has any money…do they?
- This week there was a huge furore about an Essex hospital spending money on art – where are the programmes about the value of art and architecture to health?
- How about programmes about the great new ideas organisations like the Development Trusts Association are growing for using the empty buildings in our high streets, bringing architecture into these?
I could go on… what are your ideas? How could the tired old formulae benefit from an injection of truly creative design which makes you go ‘wow! I didn’t know you could do that…’?