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Revealed: Images of Gareth Hoskins contest winning Bird College scheme

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Gareth Hoskins Architects has revealed images of its competition-winning scheme for a new dance and drama facility at Bird College in Sidcup, South London

The first images come more than nine months after the practice was announced as winner of the delayed RIBA competition (see below).

The 6,000m² scheme includes the refurbishment of the existing inter-war school building, a new 250-seat performance and teaching space, a 120-seat studio theatre, and dance, music and studio spaces.

The Glasgow-based practice saw off competition from Carmody Groarke, former Herzog & de Meuron star Harry Gugger, Dutch big-hitters Mecanoo Architecten, Eric Parry Architects and Sarah Wigglesworth Architect to bag the £13 million job.

The project is due to start on site in early 2015.

Previous story (AJ 05.03.13)

Gareth Hoskins wins delayed Bird College contest

Gareth Hoskins Architects has finally been named as the winner in the RIBA-backed competition to mastermind the overhaul of Bird College, Sidcup.

The appointment comes more than a year after a six-strong shortlist, which included Carmody Groarke and former Herzog & de Meuron star Harry Gugger, was announced for the £13 million project.

The Glasgow-based practice also beat Dutch big-hitters Mecanoo Architecten, Eric Parry Architects and Sarah Wigglesworth Architects to land the scheme to create a ‘coherent 6,000m² new facility’ for the school of dance, music and theatre, currently split over six sites in Kent.

Launched in August 2011, the contest was put on hold after the college decided to appraise its site options. The teams were eventually asked to submit their design approaches in January this year (2013).

Judges included: Anthony Bowne, principal and chief executive of Trinity Laban; Laura Lee, chief executive of Maggie’s Centres; and Greg Penoyre, senior partner at Penoyre & Prasad.

The panel was unanimous in choosing Hoskins

Penoyre said: ‘We had an incredibly strong shortlist and the decision was a difficult one. But the panel was unanimous in choosing Gareth Hoskins and his team whose proposals demonstrated skilful responses to a broad range of issues and a strong empathy with the college.’

Bird College Factfile

Bird College is a renowned provider of education and professional training in dance, music and theatre performance. As well as delivering Degree programmes accredited by the University of Greenwich and a National Diploma in Professional Musical Theatre validated by Trinity College London, Bird College is the provider of music and junior dance services for the London Borough of Bexley.  Many of the College’s graduates go on to pursue a professional career in the performing arts, with a strong presence of Bird College alumni within West End musical theatre.  The College wishes to improve its facilities to match the best within the sector and accommodate increased student numbers, by creating an exciting new teaching and learning resource for the benefit of students, staff and the wider community.  Following agreement in principle with the London Borough of Bexley, the College hopes to move its five current locations of operation in Sidcup to a site in Alma Road which is currently home to the Bexley Adult Education College.

Previous story (AJ 01.12.11)

AJ exclusive: shortlist named in Bird College contest

Harry Gugger Studios has been named on an intriguing six-strong shortlist to mastermind the overhaul of Bird College, Sidcup.

The former Herzog & de Meuron star and brains behind the Tate Modern transformation is collaborating with London’s Friend and Company in the competition for the £13 million project. The team is vying against Dutch big-hitters Mecanoo Architecten, Carmody Groarke, Eric Parry Architects, this year’s Doolan Prize-winner Gareth Hoskins Architects, and Sarah Wigglesworth Architects.

The six were chosen from 95 entrants from across Europe in the RIBA-backed competition which was launched in August to create a ‘coherent 6,000m² new facility’ for the school of dance, music and theatre, currently split over six sites in Kent (pictured).

Shirley Coen, principal and chief executive of Bird College said: ‘This was a very challenging process as the quality of the submissions were very high. This will be an exciting process for the college, both in terms of what it means for our future and the creative collaboration that we will have with our eventual winner.’

The six shortlisted teams will present their ideas to the jury, which includes Maggie’s Centres’ chief executive Laura Lee, in the new year.

Greg Penoyre is acting as RIBA architectural adviser to the competition while June Denton is working as a strategic adviser to the College.

Full shortlist

  • Carmody Groarke
  • Eric Parry Architects
  • Gareth Hoskins Architects
  • Harry Gugger Studio with Friend and Company
  • Mecanoo Architecten
  • Sarah Wigglesworth Architects



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