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RIBA Award Winners 2011 – School

Over half of this year’s award-winning schools are in London and the South East

Of the 11 schemes, two are academies, hybrid public-private projects that are expensive to build; both Zaha Hadid Architects and Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios worked with around £3,100-400 per square metre.

BSF barely gets a look in, although Archial’s Michael Faraday School is a deserving winner, and Jestico + Whiles’ imaginative retrofit at Stoke Newington suggests Brutalist architecture can be sensibly reworked. Two projects loom just that little bit larger: Sevenoaks School, ‘architecture that sings’ according to the judges, and Evelyn Grace Academy, ‘a miracle in SE24’, says the AJ’s Felix Mara. Rory Olcayto

Performing Arts Centre, Sevenoaks School, Tim Ronalds Architects

Client Sevenoaks School Foundation
Contract value £8.8 million, £2,550/m²
Citation Fluid spaces are carefully detailed. Performance and practice spaces are related but tailored to function. Entering the foyer one experiences the two-storey fall across the site and the staircase descends to a recital room and the concert hall: a warm, majestic daylit space with acoustics controlled by geometry alone.
Region South
See AJ 24.06.10 and

Chelsea Academy, Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios

Client Department for Education and Chelsea Academy Trust
Contract value £34.6 million, £3,145/m²
Citation The quality of the school’s circulation and teaching spaces is the result of a highly sophisticated synthesis of complex accommodation requirements. The layout, section and form are a remarkable three-dimensional puzzle like a Rubik’s Cube, with each face having an independent response to its immediate environment.
Region London

Michael Faraday School, Archial

Client London Borough of Southwark, Children’s Services
Contract value £8.8 million, £2,927/m²
Citation The school’s cheerful demeanour is a natural counter-reaction to its context - the bleak slabs of south London’s Aylesbury Estate. Behind the various plays of colour and form, a well planned and serious building is present. The main building is a drum topped by a sophisticated roof form composed of a deep gluelam grid with pitched rooflights and acoustic baffles.
Region London
See AJ 25.11.10 and

St Patrick’s School Library and Music Room, Coffey Architect

Client St Patrick’s Primary School
Contract value £350,000, £5,833/m²
Citation ‘Less is more’ would seem to sum up this tiny yet ingenious school extension providing a library, music room and storeroom. The building has a simplicity that comes from a straightforward plan and the prevailing expression of just two self-finish materials. It features an openable glass wall with a freestanding canopy, that creates an informal proscenium for play.
Region London

Stoke Newington School and Sixth Form, Jestico + Whiles

Client London Borough of Hackney
Contract value Not disclosed
Citation The architects’ insertions into a Brutalist concrete school really work. A striking Cor-Ten steel block set on a glazed-brick plinth has given the school a distinguished, powerful and lasting new identity. More than just a quick fix, it reinterprets and preserves the building’s architectural style, that might otherwise have been lost.
Region London

Sandal Magna Primary School, Sarah Wigglesworth Architects

Client Wakefield Council
Contract value £5 million, £2,826/m²
Citation The rigour of the diagram, three fingers of accommodation, has resulted in a highly functional but exciting building, full of curiosity yet simple in plan form. The school deserves praise for its design quality, functionality, sustainability and aesthetics, but most of all for the joy it brings to its users. Yorkshire
See AJ 07.10.10 and

Parabola Arts Centre, Cheltenham Ladies’ College, Foster Wilson Architects

Client Cheltenham Ladies’ College
Contract value £6.2 million, £2,981/m²
Citation It is refreshing to see classical language employed with such restraint. The architects inherited a tough challenge - the new building is an extension of a freestanding villa that appeared to be two semi-detache homes. Foster Wilson has used the opportunity of the inherited dual circulation to organise a complex new building programme.
Region South West

Knop Law Primary School, ADP

Client David Hoskins Aura & Pauline Dutton (Headteacher)
Contract value £7.4 million, £2,919/m²
Citation The architecture of Newcastle’s Knop Law Primary School engenders an atmosphere of both ease and formality that permeates all the school’s activities; the aspiration of decency and inquisitive thought in the design will surely find its way into the minds of the users of this delightful place.
Region North East

Arts Centre, West Bucknall School, Rundell Associates

Client West Buckland School
Contract value £3.25 million, £2,321/m²
Citation This comprises two linear buildings: a studio theatre aligned with the original buildings, and an extrusion of workshops and studios. A public court at the eastern end serves as a performance area. Subtle shifts in section, utilising half-levels across the sloping site, allow a bridge to connect everything together. Region South West
See AJ 13.05.10 and

Evelyn Grace Academy, Zaha Hadid Architects

Client ARK Schools
Contract value £36.5 million, £3,397/m²
Citation The project is distinguished by its planning, not its form of expression; its saltire plan solving the multiple demands of site and usage in a manner that seems effortless. Internally the academy is a functional modern school, with occasional spatial moments as reminders that this is real architecture, though not at the expense of utility or value.
Region London
See AJ 04.11.10 and

Kilburn Grange Park Adventure Playground, erect architecture

Client London Borough of Camden
Contract value £976,000, £242/m²
Citation The whimsical play centre is a timber structure which in many ways resembles a big piece of playground furniture. This imaginative thinking has produced a visually, physically and educationally stimulating series of play structures that is characterised by its extensive use of reclaimed and recycled materials.
Region London

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