Worcester College’s Sultan Nazrin Shah Centre has been shortlisted for the UK’s best new building of the year.
The £9 million theatre and conference centre is in the running for the 2018 Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) Stirling Prize – the most prestigious award for architecture in the UK.
The Sultan Nazrin Shah Centre is a single story, 120-seat building containing a lecture theatre, a dance studio and seminar rooms designed by Níall McLaughlin Architects. The centre is named after Nazrin Shah, an alumnus of Worcester College and the eldest son of the Sultan of Perak in Malaysia.
Provost of Worcester College, Sir Jonathan Bale, said: “Having won the regional award as southern England’s Building of the Year, we knew we were in with a shout, but when you’re up against a billion pound Norman Foster project you don’t exactly hold your breath!”
Sir Jonathan noted that the college was “thrilled to be nominated,” and was personally “especially pleased” as he himself had the idea of designing the auditorium in the style of an Ancient Greek amphitheatre.
President of RIBA, Ben Derbyshire, said: “It doesn’t go unnoticed that half of the buildings were commissioned by UK universities, suggesting that parts of the higher education sector value the importance of improving the quality of their buildings and estates to reward and attract students, staff and visitors, and to make a positive contribution to their local area.
“It’s encouraging to see clients who recognise the broad range of benefits that can be achieved by working with skilled and resourceful architects, and I hope more public-sector organisations will follow their lead.”
Derbyshire added: “In these challenging and turbulent political times, we must celebrate how the UK’s architectural talent can help to improve local communities and their quality of life.”
The Sultan Nazrin Shah Centre will be competing with six other new buildings in the UK, including the Tate St Ives art gallery in Cornwall, a nursery school and a cemetery.