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Winner Building Sponsored by BSI NatWest Media Centre, Lord's Cricket Ground, London NW8

Leading edge marine technology poised above the world's most revered cricket ground.

Perched high above the eastern axis of Lord's, sports writers now have a far better view of the cricket than do the MCC members on their high chairs in the Long Room of the Pavilion at the far end of the pitch.

But there is one disadvantage of being inside the NatWest-sponsored Media Centre. You cannot enjoy the external view of a building that appears set to be one of the great innovative structures of the late 20th century.

Expressing its function as an eye staring down at the wicket, the media centre makes absolutely no compromise to its historic setting yet blends to perfection with buildings a century older.

The eye exists because the MCC is a client brave enough to encourage real innovation and one which enjoys the kind of patronage which can back that commitment without compromise.

As a result British engineering has a showpiece that is beamed around the world to wherever there is an interest in cricket.

Conventional building and construction technology is limited to the foundations and the reinforced concrete lift shafts which support the media centre 15m above the ground at the ends of the Compton and Edrich Stands.

The main structure is the first all-aluminium, semi-monocoque building in the world.

It consists of ribs and spars welded to a plated skin on the same principle as an aircraft or boat.

Prefabrication of the hull was carried out by boatbuilder Pendennis Shipyard in Cornwall and the building was brought to site by road as 26 assemblies measuring up to 4.5m by 20m. These were then craned into position and temporarily bolted before welding to form a continuous structure without movement joints.

Glazing on the front of the centre is inclined so as to eliminate reflections and glare on the pitch and minimise the visual barrier between sports reporters and the players. But it does have the effect of isolating reporters, despite the relays from microphones close to the players, and so the BBC commentators' box has a large hinged window to let in the crack of bat and ball - or ball on stump and pad.

The penalty for being a pioneer is often cost and the Media Centre is no exception. But in terms of real value Lord's has gained a superb asset.

Judges' comments

'Seldom have ground-breaking innovation, beauty and fitness for purpose been so dramatically and successfully achieved in a single building. Although modest in scale, the centre has already become an architectural and structural icon of world rank. This surely confirms the MCC as one of the most enlightened clients of the decade.'

Client

Marylebone Cricket Club

Cost

£5M, approx

Principal designer

Future Systems

Structural engineer

Ove Arup & Partners

Contractor

Pendennis Shipyard

Other firms

Buro Happold (services engineer)

Billings Design Associates (glazing consultant)

Davis Langdon & Everest (cost consultant)

GTMS (project management)

Heery International (management contractor for support towers)

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