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The best school in the world found in.....Croydon

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A school extension in Croydon by Hayhurst and Co has been named the best new school in the world following a global search by the Architectural Review

The £4.5 million addition to the Whitehorse Manor school in south London beat submissions from Portugal, China and Afghanistan (see the full list of winners and commended projects here).

The AR School Awards, part of the AJ’s sister title’s rolling programme of design accolades, celebrate the most exciting places of learning in the world. 

The judges, who included dRMM co-founder Sadie Morgan, ex-FAT director Sam Jacob, and critic Deyan Sudjic, praised the project’s material beauty and its spatial configuration.

The extension to the Victorian school - which also won the school category of the AJ Retrofit Awards in 2014 - provided seven new classrooms, six remodelled classrooms, a hall extension, and a new administration hub.

Through the concept of a ‘responsive roofscape’ the practice has played with the scale, repetition and construction of the existing Victorian school.


Judges’ comments

Sadie Morgan
‘The winner is a very beautiful project. They’ve looked at the narrative, the journey of the schoolchild. I found the level of detail and critical thinking really impressive.’

Deyan Sudjic
‘It’s a wonderful piece of embroidery – somewhere that feels a good place to learn and go. It’s giving the young people the sense that education matters.’

Sam Jacob
‘As an addition to a Victorian school, the interventions have transformed what is an old idea of a school and what education is into something that feels incredibly contemporary, and incredibly liberating.’

Project data

Location Croydon, South London
Type of project school
Architect Hayhurst and Co
Client London Borough of Croydon
Quantity surveyor SENSE
Structural engineer Ian Wright Associates
M&E engineer Edward Pearce
BREEAM consultant Bianco Sale
Acoustician Cass Allen
CDMC consultant GEP Safety
Main contractor Morgan Sindall
Completed 2014
Contract value £3.2 million
Total cost £4.5 million
Area 1,400m2

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