Manchester Civil Justice Centre, designed by Denton Corker Marshall, lost out to Accordia, a housing project in Cambridge, to become this year's RIBA Stirling Prize building of the year.
It the first time the award has been given to a large housing development. Accordia was designed by Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios, Alison Brooks Architects and Maccreanor Lavington Architects for Countryside Properties.
Bookmakers had tipped either Manchester CJC or Westminster Academy by Allford Hall Monaghan Morris to take home the top prize.
Manchester CJC did pick up the RIBA/English Partnerships Sustainability Award. The BREEAM 'excellent' building saw off Oundle School by Stirling Prize joint-winner Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios, Bristol Brunel Academy by Wilkinson Eyre, and Oxley Woods by Rogers Stirk Harbour & Partners to land the £5,000 first prize.
The awards were announced at a dinner in the Wilkinson Eyre-designed Arena & Convention Centre Liverpool televised on Channel 4 on Saturday evening.