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Hayhurst and Co wins RIBA learning centre contest

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Hayhurst and Co has won the RIBA’s competition to design a 365m² education suite inside its London headquarters

The Spitalfields-based emerging studio was chosen ahead of shortlisted practices AOC Architecture, Coffey Architects, Delvendahl Martin Architects and Featherstone Young.

The competition, open to all RIBA chartered members and practices, invited creative teams to design a dedicated studio, study room, terrace and display area inside the institute’s 66 Portland Place home.

The project, which is financially supported by the Clore Duffield Foundation, will create a space where children and families, young people and students, adults and lifelong learner can engage in hands-on and creative activities.

Practice founder Nick Hayhurst said: ‘We are really pleased to be working on the design of a space that will bring a new facility into the heart of 66 Portland Place.

‘We are looking forward to working with the RIBA and Clore Duffield Foundation to develop our ideas for a vibrant and adaptable space that encourages visitors of all ages to learn about architecture.’

RIBA president Ben Derbyshire said: ‘The creativity and quality of the proposals reflected the genuine commitment of our members to exciting the next generation about architecture and ensuring a diverse profession for the future.

‘I am confident that Hayhurst and Co will deliver a truly inspirational space for all ages to learn about and explore architecture.’

Clore Duffield Foundation chair Vivien Duffield said: ‘We were pleased by the enthusiastic response to this competition and were delighted to be part of the process in selecting the winning team.

‘We were particularly impressed by Hayhurst and Co’s creative, flexible and practical response and look forward to seeing their vision realised and used by a whole range of enthusiastic learners.’

Grade II*-listed 66 Portland Place was designed by George Grey Wornum and opened in 1934 as a purpose-built venue for the RIBA. Its public facilities include a library, bookshop, café and bistro.

Carmody Groarke with Julian Harrap completed a £900,000 exhibition space inside the building three years ago, while Theis + Khan created a competition-winning £2.9 million annexe for the institute at neighbouring 76 Portland Place.

Last November, the RIBA appointed former Aedas director Sarah Williams to carry out a strategic review of options for the future use of 66 Portland Place.

The latest project will support the RIBA’s objective to engage schoolchildren in architecture and to promote its collections to audiences of all backgrounds and ages. The learning centre is expected to have an additional 10,000 visitors to the venue per year by 2021. 

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