British TV and Radio presenter Lauren Laverne has pulled out of judging this year’s Stirling Prize, due to scheduling difficulties.

The face of BBC‘s The Culture Show is set to be replaced by Irish garden designer and TV presenter Diarmuid Gavin in judging the prize run by RIBA (the Royal Institute of British Architects).

UN Studio’s Ben van Berkel has also resigned from the jury, and will be replaced by Czech-born architect Eva Jiricna.

In a statement released today, the RIBA said it thanked Laverne and Berkel for their ‘efforts’ while welcoming the new judges.

“Although every effort is made to ensure the judges’ availability well in advance of the site visits, clashes with schedules and other extenuating circumstances can arise, and it is just something that has to be dealt with.

“We welcome Diarmuid Gavin and Eva Jiricna onto the panel, and thank Lauren Laverne and Ben van Berkel for all their efforts, and hope to work with them again in the future.”

The jury now comprises Kieran Long, editor of The Architects’ Journal; Shelley McNamara of Grafton Architects; Gordon Murray of Gordon Murray + Alan Dunlop Architects; Diarmuid Gavin; and Eva

The six buildings on this year’s shortlist include the Amsterdam Bijlmer Arena Station in the Netherlands by architects Grimshaw / Arcadis, Manchester Civil Justice Centre designed by Denton Corker Marshall and and the Allies and Morrison-designed Royal Festival Hall in London.

Previous winners of the prize include Barajas Airport by Richard Rogers Partnership and The Scottish Parliament by EMBT / RMJM.

The winner of the Stirling Prize in will be announced in Liverpool on Saturday 11 October 2008 and broadcast on Channel 4 on Sunday 12 October.

By Ozge Ibrahim