A street-sized art gallery, a library - and a building in Elephant & Castle. Are these the UK's most beautiful new buildings?

Emma Haslett
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Elephant & Castle's Trafalgar Place was included on the list (Source: Riba)

Beauty may be in the eye of the beholder, but that hasn't stopped the Royal Institute of British Architects (Riba to its friends) from shortlisting what it perceives to be the UK's most beautiful new buildings.

Yep: the shortlist of the annual Stirling Prize has been unveiled - and while two of the buildings are in London, another two were commissioned by the same client: Oxford University. Those include the Blavatnik School of Government, a contemporary new building which "tears up the rule book", and the Bodleian's Weston Library.

The buildings in the capital include Trafalgar Place, the first phase of the rejuvenation of Elephant & Castle's grim Heygate Estate, which the judges said included "clever use of brickwork". Damien Hirst's Newport Street Gallery, which has taken up three Victorian workshops in Vauxhall.

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Also on the shortlist are Outhouse in the Forest of Dean, the first private house to feature on the Stirling Prize shortlist for 15 years, and City of Glasgow College's Riverside Campus.

“Every one of the six buildings shortlisted today illustrates the huge benefit that well-designed buildings can bring to people’s lives," said Riba president Jane Duncan.

"As seen at Trafalgar Place and Newport Street Gallery, they can breathe life and kick-start regeneration in neglected urban pockets to create new, desirable destinations and communities; as with Blavatnik School of Government, Weston Library and City of Glasgow College, they can give cities and institutions a new landmark to delight and draw in visitors, improve education potential, and increase civic pride. Meanwhile Outhouse provides a fantastic model for a private house – one that delights its owners and responds exceptionally sensitively to its treasured rural position."

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Here's this year's list in full:

1. Blavatnik School of Government

This University of Oxford building was highlighted for its wide, twisting staircases.


2. City of Glasgow College, Riverside Campus

Judges said architects had created a "new icon on the Glasgow skyline".


3. Newport Street Gallery

These three Victorian workshops house Damien Hirst's private collection.


4. Outhouse Gloucestershire

This partly-subterranean home's roof doubles as a field.


5. Trafalgar Place

The Elephant & Castle homes bring a "sense of tranquillity to a very urban location".


6. Weston Library

This grade II listed "gem" has been transformed a by new glazed mezzanine.

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