The Cork House - Riba Stirling Architecture Prize

The first of Jim Stephenson’s Architects’ Journal/Riba Stirling Prize nominee films explores The Cork House, designed by Matthew Barnett Howland with Dido Milne and Oliver Wilton.

Sometimes you enter a space and struggle to hear any sound that might be worth recording. The Cork House was one such space, the density of the building’s material creating a warm cocoon, shut off from the nearby sounds of Eton and the Heathrow bound aircraft passing every few minutes. These situations require a stillness physically and of the mind, to begin to pick out what is present.

Photograph by Jim Stephenson

Photograph by Jim Stephenson

The beautiful garden offered a rich setting and opportunities for sound recording that provided a contrast with the stillness inside. I also used contact microphones inserted in spaces between the cork bricks to capture the sounds of the cork itself. These creaks and squeaking are used sparingly within the film.

The Riba Stirling Architecture Prize winner is announced on the 8th of October. Find out more here.