The BBC have ran a poll to determine the public’s favourite British building from a shortlist of six for the RIBA Sterling Prize for architecture.
The other competitors were the London Aquatics Centre, the Shard, Everyman Theatre in Liverpool, Manchester School of Art, and LSE Student Centre London.
What is broadly apparent by such awards is the change on the environment that architecture and commended architecture brings to the environment. The designation of ‘City of Culture’, for example, gave Londonderry a huge boost in arts funding and associated improvements in infrastructure, which is of interest to geography applicants. The construction of the Peace Bridge was made possible by such funding, and Hull’s nomination as the next City of Culture seems sure to bring in such funding.
We must, however, be wary of the nature and purpose of architecture, and the socio-economic tells that can be read into different constructions. Famously, Tuca Viera took this iconic picture of Sao Paulo to show the disconnect between the new, modernist executive suites with tennis courts and swimming pools alongside the slums where native Brazilians predominantly lived. The contrast signalled the disjunction of architecture when it is ill-fitting with its surroundings, whether by design or not.
The London Olympics in east London shows a similar trend, whereby the injection of money and support in 2014 has left buildings which cannot be repurposed as they are too large or different for the needs of the local population. HSPS and PPE applicants should view sporting events like these as twofold in their economic impacts, as bringing money into a community for a period of time does not necessarily give longevity to that community.