The gallery at UCC is one of six buildings from around Europe which were nominated for Britain's Royal Institute of British Architects' (RIBA) Stirling Prize.
Other buildings on the short list include the Scottish Parliament, a library, a children's centre and a BMW factory.
Glucksman gallery director Fiona Kearney said she was thrilled with the news.
"It's utterly stunning," she said.
"The gallery is a symbol of a new, confident Ireland but one which is integrated into its space.
"It's so innovative, daring and quite thrilling in terms in architecture. It's sculptural almost."
Announcing the shortlist yesterday, Professor Jeremy Till, chair of the RIBA Awards Group, said it would be no easy task to choose a winner from the wide range of projects.
"We have a national parliament building competing with a children's centre, a library with a factory for making cars, and yet they all share one quality: true architectural excellence.
"At its best, good architecture makes a real difference to the people who see it, work in it, play in it, study in it and experience it.
"Good architecture lifts the spirits. It gives something to us a sense of belonging, a renewed interest," he said.
"Every one of these shortlisted buildings would be a worthy winner they're popular not just with critics, but with the public as well.
"They stimulate, they're full of new ideas, and new approaches."
Mr Till said he looked forward to months of debate before the winner of the prize which is awarded in association with the Architects' Journal was announced in October.
The six buildings nominated are: BMW Central Building, Leipzig, Germany; Lewis Glucksman Gallery, University College, Cork; the Scottish Parliament, Edinburgh; McLaren Technology Centre, Woking, Surrey; Jubilee Library, Brighton, Sussex; Fawood Children's Centre, Harlesden, London.
The judges who include writer and broadcaster Joan Bakewell and architect and broadcaster Piers Gough will visit all the buildings before picking the winner.
British bookmakers William Hill are offering odds of 7-2 on the Lewis Glucksman Gallery winning the award, shortly behind joint favourites the McLaren Technology Centre and the Jubilee Library, both at 5-2.
The gallery which is located at University College Cork's main entrance is an exhibition and cultural centre designed by architects Sheila O'Donnell and John Tuomey and completed in 2004.
It has already won Best Public Building 2005 from the Royal Institute of Architects in Ireland, a RIBA 2005 award in the European category and the 2005 Project of the Year prize in the British Buildings Services Awards.