Tomorrow the RIBA Stirling prize will be awarded. The award is presented for the building which has made “the greatest contribution to the evolution of architecture over the past year”. Included in this year’s shortlist are NEO Bankside and Maggie’s Centre in Lanarkshire, two schemes which cleverly integrate landscape design and architecture to shape public and private space.



NEO Bankside presents a scheme that is welcoming and excellent plant choice with a selection of woodland plants and silver birch, it feels like walking into a orchestrated forest, a feeling that will surely develop as the trees grow. The designers have considered the interface of building and ground as an important public space, and indeed the design seamlessly allows walkers to take an enchanted shortcut through to the TATE Modern. Owners of the apartments have not been left out, with a bank of silver birches concealing a private amenity space.

In contrast to NEO Bankside, The Maggie Centre in Lanarkshire is an intimate space meant of recovery, quiet contemplating, and a place to discuss. The Maggie Centres are well known in the architecture world as stunning examples of design. Located in a car park in a hospital, the building takes the form of a walled garden; perforated walls are the only hint to the world outside. The building itself is punctured by courtyards to get light deep into the plan, and also provided additional space for gardens. The green spaces are particularly relevant as there is mounting research evidence that providing patients with green space initiates faster recovery. NHS Forest has found that exposure to green space helps to reduce space and can encourage a patient to summon their own inner healing resources. 




It is interesting to see that on the shortlist for the Sterling Prize, two out of six focus strongly with the integration of nature and architecture, with both being developed from the concept design, rather than the landscape being something that is added on after construction work is finished.