German museum wins Stirling

Britain’s most prestigious architecture prize has been awarded to Germany’s Museum of Modern Literature, a building of concrete, stone and wood with classical influences.

Designed by David Chipperfield Architects, the judges of the Stirling Prize called the museum ?a small Acropolis? which overlooks the River Neckar in Marbach, southwest Germany. It houses Friedrich Nietzsche’s death mask and original manuscripts including Franz Kafka’s “The Trial” and Alfred Doblin’s “Berlin Alexanderplatz.”

Judges of the Stirling Prize award described the museum as ?simultaneously rich and restrained? and praised the architects for delivering style on a relatively small budget of about $17 million. They said there was ?a particular theatricality about this space, as though the reflections, refractions and multiple shadows from the small intense lights collectively represent the soul of the German imagination.?

The $40,000 Stirling Prize is presented by the Royal Institute of British Architects. The winner must be a RIBA member, but the building can be anywhere in the European Union.

Previous winners of the prize, now in its 12th year, include the Scottish Parliament building in Edinburgh and a cigar-shaped 40-story glass skyscraper in London popularly known as the ?Gherkin.?