2020 RIBA Stirling Prize canceled due to coronavirus

Very 2020 Appropriate

2020 RIBA Stirling Prize canceled due to coronavirus

The collection of 100 homes on Goldsmith Street took home the RIBA Stirling Prize in 2019. (Tim Crocker)

The ongoing coronavirus pandemic has taken another victim: The 2020 RIBA Stirling Prize has been canceled, the first time since the award’s debut in 1996.

Often called the United Kingdom’s most prestigious architecture prize, the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA)-sponsored award is judged on design, sustainability, siting, the fulfillment of its intended purpose, its “capacity to stimulate,” and other perhaps intangible qualities. However, that judging process required jurors to travel across the U.K. to see each potential building in person, something unfeasible right now.

As RIBA explained on its website earlier this morning:

Due to ongoing public health concerns, all RIBA Awards judging (including Regional, National and Stirling) has been postponed until next year.

To maintain the consistency and rigour of our judging process, all RIBA Award winning projects must be visited in person, therefore it is unfortunately not possible to continue with this year’s awards.

All projects which have already been shortlisted for a 2020 RIBA Regional Award will be included in our 2021 RIBA Awards, which will open for entries shortly.

As the RIBA Stirling Prize is awarded to a specific project, not a person or firm, it makes sense to delay this year’s award, although there’s been no indication of how crowded the 2021 field will be.

The 2019 Stirling Prize, indicative of RIBA’s commitment to evaluating both the “beauty” and efficacy of U.K. projects, went to a collection of 100 council homes in Norwich, England, designed by Mikhail Riches and British architect Cathy Hawley. All of the homes were built to PassivHaus standards using high-quality, attractive brick, and despite being affordable social housing, all are quite spacious and oriented to soak up natural light.