Madrid airport wins Rogers top prize

The design of the Barajas Airport in Madrid has won the Richard Rogers Partnership Britain’s most prestigious architecture award.

The Royal Institute of British Architects handed over a cheque for £20,000 to the 73-year-old-architect, who had never before won the highly regarded Sterling Prize.

According to The Sunday Times, Rogers said building the airport terminal was “the greatest experience I’ve had in architecture since the Pompidou Centre [in 1970].”

His National Assembly for Wales building was also short-listed by the RIBA judges, alongside a host of other entries, including the capital’s Idea Store, designed by leading architect David Adjaye.

The judges commented on Rogers’ £1.2billion project: “Whatever the means of approach, by air or by land, the sheer scale and complexity of what has been tackled and achieved here cannot be over-estimated.”

It had also succeeded in the challenge of efficiently processing dynamic passenger flows, in addition to luggage handling.

They added: “The elegant oversailing roof is a unifying device and succeeds in being both dominant and yet calmly and self-assuredly understated. The sinuous, lightweight consistency of the bamboo slatted lining contrasts with the modular repetition of the gymnastic steel roof structure that in turn is supported off a monumental concrete frame.

“The structure accommodates vast rooflights that provide shaded daylight throughout the upper level. Intentionally expressive air conditioning outlets, that resemble giant bar code readers, animate the baggage collection stands.”

They said Rogers’ ‘architectural ambition’ was best illustrated by the roof – “the defining feature, sweeping across the building, cloaking the richness within and reinforcing the extruded nature of this infinitely extendable tour de force.”

In a statement on his website, Lord Rogers reflected: “Our aim has been to create an airport that is fun, with lots of light, great views and a high degree of clarity.”


17th October 2006

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