Notes to editors
1. For images and further information please contact Lorna Gemmell in the RIBA Press Office on 020 7307 3761 or firstname.lastname@example.org
2. Full citation follows:
New Learning Centre, Portland College
Portland College, Nottingham Road, Mansfield NG18 4TJ
Architect: Patel Taylor
Client: Portland College
Structural Engineer: Conisbee
Services Engineer: Fulcrum Consulting
Contractor: Clegg Construction
Contract Value: £2.35 million
Date of completion: July 2006
Gross internal area: 1290 sq m
Patel Taylor's new Information and Communication Technology Learning Centre at Portland College is designed for people with varying degrees of disability, from those injured in accidents to profoundly disabled young people.
The Inclusive Design Award judges noted the feeling of quality in the building, describing it as 'corporate in the best sense' – from the sparing use of high quality materials throughout, but particularly in the reception which would befit any corporate institution, to the robust and well-designed fitted and free-standing furniture. In education generally the attitude is all too often that because of tight budgets, students will have to make do with second best. Hence their expectations of what design can do is rock bottom. For these people at least, that view will be challenged.
The judges also enjoyed the integration of a new building with the existing buildings and with the landscape. The outside spaces feature a mesh treatment to enable wheelchair users to enjoy the grounds independently. And they praised the achievement of tonal contrast, which is so important for partially sighted people, without resort to the usual ghastly colour palette – the doors leading to the classrooms are all differing colours, enabling students and staff to find their way around independently. The angles of the raked corridors allow the doors into the classrooms to be positioned to face down the corridor so each is clearly visible from the reception desk. This is split-height so is comfortable to use whether seated or standing. The classrooms, which are so often skimped, were a delight, with all desks height-adjustable at the push of a button. The windows in the classrooms allow a view out when seated so the gardens and woodland beyond are clearly visible to everyone making them very calm spaces to use.
Although the brief for the Learning Centre at Portland College was for a building that works specifically for disabled people it has been designed with many features which could and should be incorporated into any new building designed to meet inclusive design principles – which means all new buildings.
3. CABE is the government's advisor on architecture, urban design and public space. As a public body, we encourage policymakers to create places that work for people. We help local planners apply national design policy and offer expert advice to developers and architects. We show public sector clients how to commission buildings that meet the needs of their users. And we seek to inspire the public to demand more from their buildings and spaces. Advising, influencing and inspiring, we work to create well-designed, welcoming places.
4. The RIBA Stirling Prize in association with The Architects' Journal is the UK's most prestigious architectural prize and is awarded annually to the architects of the building that has made the greatest contribution to British architecture in the past year. Winners must be RIBA Members and the building may be anywhere in the European Union. The shortlists are drawn from the winners of the 2007 RIBA National and European Awards. The prize is named after the architect Sir James Stirling 1926 – 1992. The winner will receive £20,000.
5. All RIBA Award winners can be seen at www.architecture.com
6. The RIBA Awards and RIBA Stirling Prize are managed by the RIBA Trust. The RIBA Trust manages the cultural assets of the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA), including the internationally recognised collections of the British Architectural Library. It is the UK's national architecture centre, delivering the RIBA Awards and RIBA Stirling Prize (live on Channel 4); the Royal Gold Medal; International and Honorary Fellowships; Architecture Week (with Arts Council England and the Architecture Centre Network); a full programme of lectures, exhibitions, tours and other events; and an education programme.