Notes to editors
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Images of the winning building and shortlisted entries can be downloaded from http://www.box.net/shared/6s0uuz1x2pb753og85yc
The full building credits and judges' citation follow:
Evelyn Grace Academy
Shakespeare Road, London SE24
Architect: Zaha Hadid Architects
Client: ARK Schools
Contractor: Mace Plus
Structural Engineer: Arup
Contract value: £37.5m
Date of completion: 2010
Gross internal area: 10,745 sq m
The Evelyn Grace Academy is Zaha Hadid Architects' first large-scale UK project and their first school. So good is the resulting building that there have been no objections from neighbours, none from teachers about the shapes or size of the classrooms and none from the students who find it inspiring and a privilege to attend. 'It doesn’t make you depressed in the mornings like the temporary one used to do,’ one of them told the Stirling judges, 'in fact it’s exciting and we’re proud of it.'
The architects received a complex brief: four schools under a single academy umbrella with the need to express both independence and unity. This is a large school on a small site, occupying just 1.4 hectares, whereas the average secondary school takes up 8 hectares.
Curiously for a school whose speciality is sport, the original site seemingly lacked any opportunity for significant outdoor sport but the architects have responded with guile and intelligence, providing a multi-use Astroturf pitch which can be used for football or simultaneously by games requiring smaller playing areas.
The project is distinguished by its planning; its saltire (slanted cross) plan solving demands of site and usage effortlessly. The site is cut broadly in half by a bright red 100 metre sprint track that stretches between the two gates to the street. The academy bridges the track at the 50 metre point. The track separates the two schools whose entrances are at the half-way point.
The two upper storeys of the school buildings offer a podium which appears to reduce their height and mass in this area of small scale housing. The podium roof also provides terraces which act as gathering spaces for each school in the morning and during breaks.
Internally the academy is a good quality and functional modern school, with occasional design surprises which serve as reminders that this is architecture and not just building: a fine stair detail here, finely judged lockers there, which add dabs of colour to the grey and white palette and open on to corridors while their volume is taken out of the classrooms on to which they back.
None of this is in any way at the expense of utility or value. In fact so rigorously was the budget controlled that the architects even offered to ‘sponsor’ some of the features that fell to cost-cutting.
At the outset the architects decided against the atrium that has become a trope in the design of so many academies. Instead of wasting space, and therefore money, in this way, they spend wisely on better designed and lit classroom and wider corridors and on the big rooms at the heart of the plan which can be divided by acoustic screens into dining, teaching, assembly, drama and indoor sport areas. This is a design that makes kids run to get into school in the morning.
The RIBA Stirling Prize
The RIBA Stirling Prize is for the best building in the UK by RIBA chartered architects and International Fellows, or in the rest of the EU by an RIBA chartered architect. The RIBA Stirling Prize is chosen from a shortlist drawn up by the RIBA Awards Group following visits to eligible schemes.
The shortlisted buildings are judged on a range of criteria including design vision, innovation and originality, capacity to stimulate engage and delight occupants and visitors, accessibility and sustainability, how fit the building is for its purpose and the level of client satisfaction. The RIBA Stirling Prize jury determines the winner on the day of the prize’s presentation and its votes remain confidential – full details can be found at www.architecture.com.
This is the 16th year the RIBA Stirling Prize has been presented. Last year's winner was MAXXI, the National Museum of XXI Century Arts in Rome by Zaha Hadid Architects, and previous winners include Maggie's Cancer Care Centre by Rogers Stirk Harbour & Partners, Accordia by Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios, Alison Brooks Architects, and Maccreanor Lavington; the Museum of Modern Literature by David Chipperfield Architects; Barajas Airport in Madrid by Richard Rogers Partnership; The Scottish Parliament, designed by EMBT/RMJM; 30 St. Mary Axe by Foster and Partners; the Laban Centre, London by Herzog & de Meuron; Gateshead Millennium Bridge by Wilkinson Eyre; Magna, Rotherham by Wilkinson Eyre; Peckham Library and Media Centre by Alsop and Störmer; the NatWest Media Centre at Lord's Cricket Ground by Future Systems; the American Air Museum at Duxford by Foster and Partners; The Music School, Stuttgart by Michael Wilford and Partners; and the Centenary Building, University of Salford, by Hodder Associates.
Zaha Hadid Architects have been shortlisted for the prize on three previous occasions; in 2005 for the BMW Central Building, Leipzig, Germany; in 2006 for the Phaeno Science Centre, Wolfsburg, Germany and in 2008 for Nord Park Railway in Innsbruck, Austria.
The RIBA Stirling Prize is in association with principal sponsors the Architects’ Journal and Benchmark. The associate sponsors are Ibstock and NBS.
Established in 1895, The Architects' Journal has consistently been at the forefront of architectural publishing. Its weekly news coverage, comprehensive building studies and in-depth technical and practice features make it essential reading for the profession, and its incisive commentary makes it a must-read for opinion formers. The AJ is the UK's leading independent architectural magazine, whose authoritative voice has informed generations of architects. For more information on the RIBA Awards programme visit the AJ website at http://www.architectsjournal.co.uk.
This year, Kingspan Benchmark launched Kingspan Benchmark Connect, a pre-engineered multi-spanning unitised wall system that has excellent thermal, structural and fire performance and can speed up the build time while providing the ideal platform for the Benchmark façade range.
Recently launched is Benchmark Evolution, the latest development in insulated panel technology. Evolution is a stylish, sleek, laser flat panel with a unique range of design features that allow maximum design flexibility in the creation of a truly bespoke system. For more information visit http://www.kingspanbenchmark.com.
Images of the winners of the 2011 RIBA Lubetkin Prize can be downloaded here:http://www.box.net/shared/g0szupvh756em91lzxy7/1/91804309
Images of the winners of the 2011 RIBA Stephen Lawrence Prize can be downloaded here:http://www.box.net/shared/f6l7i0qjf9mdp7udml3u
Images of the winners of the 2011 Client of the Year Prize can be downloaded here:http://www.box.net/shared/xda3x13var0q423dud4i
The Royal Institute of British Architects champions better buildings, communities and the environment through architecture and its members. www.architecture.com.