Stirling Prize: Manchester School of Art on RIBA shortlist

Several views of Manchester School of Art The extension to Manchester Art School was completed last year

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The Manchester School of Art has been shortlisted for a prestigious architecture award.

The Royal Institute of British Architects' (Riba) Stirling Prize is awarded to the best new building.

Judges said the extension to the Manchester Metropolitan University site felt more like entering an "art gallery rather than a university department".

Other shortlisted sites include Liverpool's rebuilt Everyman Theatre and the Library of Birmingham.

The school marked its 175th anniversary last year by opening a new £23m building and a refurbishment of the 1960s Chatham Tower.

Interior views of School of Art The new site includes several open studios and workshops

The panel, praising architects Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios, said: "This is a building where the exploration of design and creativity will flourish."

Graphic designer and art director Peter Saville on the 'dream studio'

Peter Saville

The wonderful thing about this new wing is its sense of purpose.

It immediately challenges one's preconceptions of the educational environment and feels like a tall elegant living space, almost a dream studio.

The configuration facilitates cross-disciplinary awareness and social interaction - intelligently designed to encourage innovative hybridity.

This is a machine for learning in and I am thrilled to see this evolution of my former art college.

Prof David Crow, Dean of Manchester School of Art, said they were "delighted with the news".

He said: "The starting point for this project was to design a 21st Century art school.

"The university encouraged the school to take a bold approach which we think will be a reference point for future art schools.

"We wanted to challenge convention and create a place that would encourage cross disciplinary working, team projects and a more open and social approach to learning."

Councillor Pat Karney, Manchester City Council's city centre spokesperson, said: "It's a fantastic achievement for a building's design to receive an accolade as esteemed as this.

"Not only is the new art school an asset to the university and the students who have the pleasure of studying there, but also to the city centre, where it will add to the already vibrant character of Oxford Road."

Former graduates of the Manchester School of Art include painter L.S. Lowry, actor Julie Walters, comedian Steve Coogan and graphic designer Peter Saville.

The overall winner, picked by a team of judges, will be announced on 16 October.

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