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The AJ’s 12 days of Christmas: Allford Hall Monaghan Morris

AHMM
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Over the next seven days the AJ takes a look at the architects who have made the headlines this year. Next up: Allford Hall Monaghan Morris

It has been a year of highs and lows for Allford Hall Monaghan Morris (AHMM).

The practice, which came in at number three in the AJ120 rankings, lost a major job. After a series of delays and redesigns, news broke that Heatherwick Studio and BIG were to take over from the firm on Google’s London headquarters at King’s Cross.

AHMM had already been sent back to the drawing board on its £1 billion scheme, after being told by the technology giant that it wanted a ‘more ambitious’ design, than the one it had won planning for back in September 2013.

The delays had been blamed for a number of ‘frustrated and exasperated’ staff leaving AHMM.

And then there was the battle over its scheme at Norton Folgate.

The plans for the 32,550m² British Land-backed scheme were thrown out in the summer after they were vigorously fought by the Spitalfields Historic Buildings Trust – the local campaign group led by architectural critic and television presenter Dan Cruickshank.

The practice came back with amended plans and has since submitted proposals which retain two 19th-century warehouse blocks at the heart of the scheme.

But the year ended on a high for the 300-strong practice when its Burntwood School won the 2015 Stirling Prize. It was fourth time lucky for the London-based practice which had also been shortlisted for the prize in 2008, 2009 and 2011.

The £40.9 million ‘tour de force’ was among the last projects funded through the Building Schools for the Future (BSF) programme and is one of eight secondary schools designed by the practice in the last 10 years.

Speaking to the AJ on the night AHMM received the coveted award, practice co-founder Paul Monaghan said: ‘We were starting to think it might never be our day.’

AHMM’s Stirling Prize-winning Burntwood School

Burntwood School by Allford Hall Monaghan Morris

Burntwood School by Allford Hall Monaghan Morris

Source: Timothy Soar

Read the full AJ appraisal

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