A cancer centre in London designed by Richard Rogers has been awarded the 2009 Stirling Prize for architecture. The award is handed out annually by the Royal Institute of British Architects, and it is the second time Rogers has won. The award will inevitably be interpreted as a riposte by Riba to Prince Charles, who notoriously blocked the Rogers-headed redevelopment of Chelsea Barracks in London earlier this year.
This announcement coincides with the news that a planning application for a £5.5bn scheme to redevelop the defunct Battersea Power Station has been unveiled. Under the plan, 3,700 homes would be built, interspersed with offices, shops and restaurants, on the 40-acre site just south of the Thames.
If ever there was a prize for the most neglected building in London, Battersea Power Station (derelict since 1983) would surely be a 5.5 billion-to-one favourite.
Owen Hatherley will discuss the Stirling Prize and what its legacy means to Britain in a forthcoming issue of the New Statesman.