The biggest truck-lift in Europe, built by Richard Rogers for the British Museum, is vying with a gloriously ungaudy pier and a Glasgow tower that thinks it's a town. Read our critic's take on the full shortlist here
Hastings' revived seaside pier will go head to head with a stealthy addition to the British Museum and a photographer's concrete studio in west London in the race to win the RIBA Stirling prize for the UK's best new building. They are joined on a diverse shortlist by a new visitor centre at Chatham's historic naval dockyard, a little brick tower of six apartments in east London and a gargantuan complex for the City of Glasgow College – the second year running that the young institution has made the shortlist.
Last year, the handsome riverside campus for its maritime faculty was designed by Reiach and Hall and Michael Laird. Now the further education college is back in the spotlight with a project by the same architects, who have squeezed an entire town into a 60,000-sq-metre building in the city centre. Sharing a similar stripped back architectural language, with grids of crisp aluminium mullions and marching colonnades of sharp white concrete columns, the £162m 10-storey complex houses everything from salons and industrial kitchens to film studios and aircraft cabins to train its 30,000 students in myriad technical and vocational skills. Arranged around a vast atrium and an external courtyard, with a high street frontage and a big public staircase spilling on to a planned park, this gleaming temple to practical skills has the noble civic presence worthy of a small national parliament.