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The Whitworth shortlisted for UK’s most prestigious architecture prize

16 Jul 2015

Our redeveloped art gallery up for Riba Stirling Prize for the UK's best new building

The Whitworth

The Whitworth – reopened this year following a £15 million redevelopment – has been shortlisted for the UK’s most prestigious architecture prize.

Our “gallery in the park”, redesigned by MUMA (McInnes Usher McKnight Architects), is in the running for this year's Riba Stirling Prize for the UK's best new building.

Described as a "tour de force" by the prize's organisers, the extension saw the gallery win the £100,000 Art Fund prize for museum of the year on 1 July. This year's Riba winner will be announced in central London on 15 October.

President and Vice-Chancellor, Professor Dame Nancy Rothwell said: “The transformation of the Whitworth has been a significant project for The University of Manchester and I am delighted with MUMA¹s beautiful reimagining of the gallery in the park. The fact that RIBA has recognised the architectural importance of this new building makes me very proud. The Whitworth is a valued part of the University, housing internationally significant art collections. Now we also have a building which matches these collections and which can be enjoyed by local people, students, staff and visitors from around the world for many years to come.”

Maria Balshaw, Director of the Whitworth, commented: “MUMA’s sensitive extension and restoration of our building unlocks our potential as a university art gallery in a park. The collection and the knowledge held inside now connects to our local community of park users and the elegant, generous spaces for art are drawing people in from all over the world. We are delighted to have the quality of MUMA’s architecture recognized by inclusion on the Stirling Prize shortlist.”

Diana Hampson, the University’s Director of Estates and Facilities, said: “The Whitworth is a flagship project in our £1 billion campus development programme and this major transformation of one of our cultural assets has created a landmark building for staff, students and visitors to enjoy. This achievement is testament to the dedication of all those involved in its delivery. “

Riba president Stephen Hodder, who won the inaugural Stirling Prize in 1996, said the shortlisted buildings were all "surprising new additions to urban locations".

"In the shortlist we have six model buildings that will immeasurably improve the lives and well-being of all those who encounter them," he continued.

The buildings, he said, were "well-executed... both internally and externally" and "game-changers that other architects, clients and local authorities should aspire to."