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.
See AJ 24.06.10 and AJBuildingsLibrary.co.uk
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.
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.
See AJ 25.11.10 and AJBuildingsLibrary.co.uk
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.
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.
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 AJBuildingsLibrary.co.uk
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 AJBuildlingsLibrary.co.uk
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.
See AJ 04.11.10 and AJBuildingsLibrary.co.uk
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.