El Ray, a small holiday house in
Dungeness, Kent by Simon Conder Associates has won the Stephen Lawrence Prize 2009.
The Stephen Lawrence Prize is funded by the Marco Goldschmied Foundation. It commemorates the teenager who was just setting out on the road to becoming an architect when he was murdered in 1993. It rewards the best examples of projects with a construction budget of less than £1,000,000. In addition to the £5,000 prize money, Marco Goldschmied puts up an additional £5,000 to fund the Stephen Lawrence Scholarship at the Architectural Association.
The Stephen Lawrence Prize was set up in 1998 to draw attention to the Stephen Lawrence Trust to assist young black students to study architecture and to reward smaller projects and the creativity required when architects are working with low budgets.
The Stephen Lawrence Prize announcement was made on Saturday 17 October at a special awards ceremony for the RIBA Stirling Prize in association with The Architects' Journal and Crystal CG at Old Billingsgate in London, introduced by Tom Dyckhoff, architecture critic for The Times newspaper. The winner was announced by architect and former RIBA President Marco Goldschmied and presented with a cheque for £5,000. The judges were Marco Goldschmied and RIBA Honorary Fellow Doreen Lawrence OBE.
The small timber holiday house has two bedrooms, a bathroom and a large living, dining/kitchen area that looks on to the sea. The room is elevated in section towards the window wall which brings a private framed beach landscape into the house. Each bedroom has its own private courtyard; a windbreak and place of shelter. The building sits perfectly in, and is another eccentric addition to, a landscape of reused and bespoke construction. The external timber (cedar) which is weathering naturally and internal plywood both fit beautifully with the beach landscape and colours.
Marco Goldschmied, founder of the Marco Goldschmied Foundation said:
"The looming presence of Dungeness power station dominates the surreal landscape. In this windswept setting this small holiday house sits lightly on the shingle. Triple glazed, it catches the sea breeze when balmy and deflects it when hostile. Needing no energy from the nuclear monolith next door, it mimics the self-sufficiency of a hermit crab. Leaving the original 1870s timber railway carriage at its heart, unmoved since the 1930s is a stroke of sensitive and humorous genius. It is both mad and perfect. The five elevations are already settling into the landscape like driftwood. When it floats away after the great floods of 2090 marine archaeologists will puzzle over its origins and hidden symbolic meaning of its wine-glass shaped plan."
The other buildings shortlisted for the award were:
Deal Pier, Kent by Niall McLaughlin Architects
Hind House, Wargrave, Berkshire by John Pardey Architects
House in Highgate Cemetery, London by Eldridge Smerin
The Long Barn Studio, Bedfordshire by Nicolas Tye Architects