2020 RIBA Stirling Prize Canceled

John Hill
30. September 2020
Goldsmith Street by Mikhail Riches with Cathy Hawley was the 2019 Stirling Prize winner. (Photo: Tim Crocker, courtesy of RIBA)

The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) has announced that it has "no option but to press pause" on its prestigious Stirling Prize and other awards for 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Today's announcement from RIBA stems from the fact the prize is determined by the shortlisted regional awards, all of which would need to be visited in person for the judging. With the need for travel — even limited to the UK — RIBA determined "it is unfortunately not possible to continue with this year’s awards." Those projects already shortlisted for the 2020 RIBA Regional Awards will be included in next year's awards, though RIBA will also be soliciting new entries soon.

RIBA President Alan Jones's statement:

"The RIBA Awards have been an annual celebration of architectural excellence for decades. Over the summer we explored flexible options for judging within the current public health challenges, however given the increasing infection rates and local restrictions, we have no option but to press pause for 2020.

"Our awards are judged in person, and as much as our teams of judges and staff are keen to visit and select the best new buildings in the UK, now is not the moment. Congratulations to all those projects which have been shortlisted for an award – we look forward to visiting next year."

The UK's coronavirus cases, like many countries, declined in the summer after being hit hard in the spring. But in September the cases across England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland rose sharply to more than 5,000 cases per day — a little bit higher than the spring tallies. With the prospect of a second lockdown in the UK, postponing the Stirling Prize and the other RIBA awards is hardly surprising.

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