from "Building Design"
Eyebrows raised over Foster's Internet win
An RIBA award intended to give the public the chance to vote for their favourite building has come under scrutiny after it was dis- covered that staffat the winning architect's office were given instructions on how to vote for their own building.
The second RIBA People's Choice award - announced at the Stirling prize-giving ceremony last week - went to Foster & Partners for its refurbishment of Berlin's Reichstag. The building received just 60 votes via the RIFIA Awards website, but this enough to scoop the award.
However, BD has learned that Foster & Partners' 400-odd employees were each sent an internal e-mail informing them of' the little-publicised competition and explaining how to vote for the Foster scheme - although there is no evidence that employ- ees' votes af'fected the outcome.
The rpize intended to decide the public's favourite building by an open vote, was decided this year by electronic poll. Foster & Partners also won the award last year, for its American Air Museum at Duxford.
The companies which organised the Intemet vote, graphic designer Cartlidge Levene and website designer Decoda, claim that no records are kept of the e-mail addresses of those who voted.
A spokeswoman for Foster Partners denied that employees had been put under pressure to vote for Foster's scheme. She said: 'The method of voting was advertised during Architecture Week, and we passed that information on to the staff. Nobody was forced to do anything.' The RIBA said it would look into the incident.
I wonder how many votes the Ranelagh Multi-Denominational School received.... if 60 was enough to win the vote.....