Three London Buildings Up For Top Prize

Three buildings in London have been shortlisted for a top architecture award.

The Shard, the Aquatics Centre in the Olympic Park and the London School of Economics' student centre have all be nominated for the Riba Stirling Prize which is awarded annually to the best new building.

Judges compared The Shard to the "Gothic spire of a German cathedral" and said it was "the most significant step forward on the London skyline since St Paul's".

They added: "Understanding that there are many days when the London skyline reads only as a depressing grey silhouette, the architects have left a substantial part at the top open, adding further to the lightness even in these conditions, not unlike the Gothic spire of a German cathedral."

Judges said that removing the wings, which had accommodated spectators during the Olympics, from the London Aquatics Centre had "allowed the building... to fly free".

About the London School of Economics Saw Swee Hock Student Centre, judges called it a "startlingly original building", which is "beautifully constructed" and a "massive contribution to its townscape".

Riba (Royal Institute Of British Architects) president Stephen Hodder said the shortlisted buildings were "poetic".

"The shortlist comprises no ordinary new swimming pool, office block, theatre, library or university - they are beautiful, inspiring and transformative new buildings that their communities can relish and be proud of," he said.

"All of the buildings are "major new additions to an already dense urban fabric in the cities they serve", he added.

"They are remarkably crafted buildings and, the closer you look at their detail, both internally and externally, and their materiality, the more impressive they become."

The winner will be announced on October 16.

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