Heatherwick Studio was honored with the RIBA Lubetkin Prize for the most outstanding work of international architecture for her ‘Seed Cathedral’ at the World Expo 2010 in Shanghai. The structure was constructed from 60,000 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 rods create an effect which has been likened to a dandelion and a sea urchin.
The presentation of the RIBA Lubetkin Prize, supported by UK Trade & Investment (UKTI), took place on June 29 at the Royal Institute of British Architects’ headquarters in London. Winners of an RIBA International Award and of RIBA Awards in the European Union also received their awards at the ceremony.
"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," said RIBA President Ruth Reed.
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 included architect Keith Williams and Paul Finch, OBE, editorial director of The Architects’ Journal and chair of CABE.
The prize is named after the world-renowned architect Berthold Lubetkin (1901-1990). The winner was presented with a cast concrete plaque, based loosely on Lubetkin’s design for the Penguin Pool at London Zoo, commissioned by the RIBA and designed and made by the artist Petr Weigl.