The UK Pavilion at the World Expo 2010 in Shanghai by Heatherwick Studio has scooped the Royal Institute of British Architects' prestigious RIBA Lubetkin Prize for the most outstanding work of international architecture by an RIBA member. The UK's pavilion at the Shanghai Expo, named the "Seed Cathedral," is constructed from 60,000 7.5 metre long slender acrylic tipped aluminum rods suspended in a timber frame which sits upon a landscaped area designed to look like a creased piece of paper. The long rods, which quiver in the breeze, create an effect which has been likened to a dandelion and a sea urchin.
The UK Pavilion beat off stiff competition from two other shortlisted buildings: Timberyard Social Housing, Dublin by O'Donnell and Tuomey and the Anchorage Museum at Rasmuson Centre, Alaska by David Chipperfield Architects.
"The RIBA Lubetkin Prize is an important prize as it epitomises how international the business of architecture is," said Ruth Reed, RIBA Lubetkin Prize jury chair and RIBA President. "Many architects are as well-known for their overseas work as they are for what they have done in their own country and in some cases, more so. This year's shortlist represents some of the most innovative architecture of the decade so picking a winner was more difficult than ever. Congratulations to Heatherwick Studio for their first Lubetkin win with an outstanding emblem for Britain and its architecture amongst its peers in Shanghai. We would also like to extend our thanks once again to UK Trade and Investment for supporting the award."
The three shortlisted buildings were seen by a visiting jury comprising Paul Monaghan, architect and Chair of the RIBA Awards Group and Tony Chapman, RIBA Head of Awards, who reported to the full jury chaired by RIBA President Ruth Reed and including architect Keith Williams and Paul Finch, OBE, editorial director of The Architects' Journal and chair of CABE.
Photography: Daniele Mattioli