Entertainment & Arts

Riba Stirling Prize win for Rome's Maxxi museum

Maxxi, National Museum of XXI Art, Rome
Image caption Rome's Maxxi contemporary museum of art is an early favourite

The Maxxi contemporary art museum in Rome has won the UK's Stirling Prize for architecture.

The award, to London-based Zaha Hadid Architects, is given for the building deemed to have made the greatest contribution to British architecture.

Ms Hadid also designed the Aquatics Centre for the London 2012 Olympics.

Past winners of the Royal Institute of British Architect's prize include the Scottish Parliament and London's "Gherkin" tower.

The winner was announced live at a ceremony from London's Roundhouse concert venue on BBC Two's The Culture Show.

The panel of six judges included Riba president Ruth Reed, Professor Lisa Jardine and BBC broadcaster Mark Lawson.

Maxxi was an early favourite for the £20,000 prize, now in its 15th year, which is given to the creators of the best new European building "built or designed in Britain".

The competition is run in association with The Architects' Journal.

Iraqi-born Ms Hadid, 59, is recognised as one of the leading architects in the world and has been based in the UK since the 1970s.

Her buildings include Zaragoza Bridge Pavilion in Spain and the BMW Central Building in Leipzig, Germany.

The judges said Maxxi's roof of controllable skylights, louvres and beams "orientate and excite the visitor and create uplifting spaces".

"This is a mature piece of architecture, the distillation of years of experimentation, only a fraction of which ever got built."

They added: "The resulting piece, rather than prescribing routes, gives the visitor a sense of exploration. It is perhaps her best work to date."

The other buildings on the shortlist were the Bateman's Row mixed-use development in east London; Christ's College School in Guildford, Surrey; Clapham Manor Primary School in south-west London; Oxford's recently revamped Ashmolean Museum, and Neues Museum, in Berlin.

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