A leading architect has questioned whether a prestigious architecture award is blighted by "anti-Celtic bias" after an acclaimed Glasgow college building lost out to Hastings Pier in this year's competition.

Writing in magazine, the Architects' Journal, Alan Dunlop, co-director of Aberfoyle-based Alan Dunlop Architect, said the judging panel behind the Stirling Prize had to "look beyond London and the south-east".

He said City of Glasgow College, which was also on the shortlist, should have won. The building, on Cathedral Street in Glasgow, was designed by Reiach and Hall Architects and Michael Laird Architects and opens its doors in 2016.

The Stirling Prize recognises excellence in architecture and is awarded annually by the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA). The only Scottish building to scoop the accolade since it was created in 1996 was the Scottish Parliament, designed by Spanish architect Enric Miralles.

East Lothian Courier: Alan Dunlop

Mr Dunlop said: "For the third year running, Reiach and Hall, now in conjunction with Michael Laird, were shortlisted but missed out on the big prize. A Scottish-based architect has yet to win the Stirling Prize and the only ‘Scottish’ building to have ever won is the Parliament designed by Spanish architect Enric Miralles.

"Another Celtic practice, O’Donnell + Tuomey, has also been shortlisted five times but not won. Can there be an anti-Celtic bias within the Stirling Prize?"

He said the 193,000 sq ft campus building was "a project of complexity and of a scale not seen in the city since the reign of Queen Victoria".

The College building previously won the 2017 Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland (RIAS) and RIBA Award for best current Scottish architecture, was named Building of the Year and Client of the Year in the Architects' Journal's own awards, and Education Building of the Year 2017 at the Scottish Design Awards.

It is also on the shortlist for the Andrew Doolan Best Building in Scotland Award, and is nominated in the Major Building Project of the Year at the British Construction Industry Awards.

Mr Dunlop added: "It seems to me that the Stirling Prize is progressively less and less about rewarding great buildings and more and more about keeping in step with professional and political interest 'down south' ... "Since its inception in 1996, only three non-London based practices have won the Stirling Prize. It is time the prize lifted its head; looked much more beyond London and the South, and sought to spread its bounty further afield."

East Lothian Courier: Hastings Pier fire

The Stirling Prize was awarded last week. Hastings Pier, which was ravaged by fire in 2010 and rebuilt using timber planks reclaimed from the original fire-damaged deck was praised by the judges for changing "the idea of what architecture is". It has been nicknamed the "people's pier" because the £14.2 million project was part-funded by £590,000 raised through crowdfunding.

A spokeswoman for City of Glasgow College said: "We were disappointed not to win the 2017 RIBA Stirling Prize after back to back shortlistings two years in a row and after receiving so many other prestigious architectural accolades. The immense scale and world class design of our stunning twin site super campus has enhanced the iconic skyline of Glasgow both along the Clyde and especially in the City’s emerging Learning Quarter.

"However, our amazing buildings are more than fabulous architecture - they are truly transforming the lives of some 40,000 students every day by raising aspirations and redefining a new era of technical and professional education.

"Great architecture, like inspirational education, should be much more prominently celebrated. Scotland is pioneering the way in both these fields and deserves greater recognition."

Riba declined to comment.