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Winner announced for Bird College Competition


07 March 2013

Press release contact:

Julia Davies
T: +44 (0)113 203 1490
E: julia.davies@riba.org

Gareth Hoskins Architects are announced as the winners of the competition to work with Bird College to redevelop and rationalise their facilities onto a single site solution in Sidcup, Kent. 

Bird College is an internationally renowned provider of education and professional training in dance, music and theatre performance. As well as delivering Degree programmes accredited by the University of Greenwich and a National Diploma in Professional Musical Theatre validated by Trinity College London, Bird College is the provider of music and junior dance services for the London Borough of Bexley. Many of the College’s graduates go on to pursue a professional career in the performing arts, with a strong presence of Bird College alumni within West End musical theatre. The College wishes to improve its facilities to match the best within the sector and accommodate increased student numbers, by creating an exciting new teaching and learning resource for the benefit of students, staff and the wider community. Following agreement in principle with the London Borough of Bexley, the College hopes to move its five current locations of operation in Sidcup to a site in Alma Road which is currently home to the Bexley Adult Education College.

Gareth Hoskins Architects was selected from a shortlist which also included (in alphabetical order) Carmody Groarke; Friend & Company Architects with Harry Gugger Studio; Mecanoo Architecten; Eric Parry Architects and Sarah Wigglesworth Architects.

As well as Trustees from The Doreen Bird Foundation and the College’s senior management team, the Jury Panel benefited from the experience and creativity of Professor Anthony Bowne, Principal and Chief Executive of Trinity Laban; Laura Lee, Chief Executive of Maggie’s Centres; together with Greg Penoyre, Senior Partner, Penoyre & Prasad LLP, acting as RIBA architectural advisor to the competition. Consistent with the calibre of the teams on the short-list, the Panel was greatly impressed by the design approaches proposed and their vision for the future of Bird College. 

Jury Panel members commented:
‘I was greatly impressed by the creativity and overall response of the design team led by Gareth Hoskins, which demonstrated an excellent understanding of the brief and the needs of the College. I look forward to working with the team and the London Borough of Bexley to develop an exciting new set of facilities on the Alma Road site.’
Shirley Coen, Principal and Chief Executive, Bird College

‘We had an incredibly strong shortlist all of whom put a great deal of thought into their submissions. The Panel was really impressed by the architectural quality of the proposals and the understanding of the nature of Bird College shown by the teams. The decision was a difficult one, but the Panel was unanimous in choosing Gareth Hoskins and his team whose proposals demonstrated skilful responses to a broad range of issues and a strong empathy with the College.’
Greg Penoyre, Senior Partner, Penoyre & Prasad LLP

On hearing that he had won the competition, Gareth Hoskins commented:
‘We are thrilled to have been chosen to work with Bird College. Our initial ideas focus around creating an engaging and inspiring educational venue that supports the College’s ambitions of continuing to develop their local connections, whilst also allowing them to expand their national and international profile within the performing arts. We are very much looking forward to working with the College to take these ideas forward with them.’

Notes to editors

Please ensure RIBA Competitions is credited when mentioning the above competition. RIBA Competitions delivers variety, inspiration and value through expertly run design and architectural competitions. For further details visit www.architecture.com/competitions

As one of the foremost training centres for dance and musical theatre performance, Bird College provides access to world-class training for the most talented individuals. Graduates enter the professional sector in a worldwide context, with many securing work in America, Europe and beyond. Their presence in musical theatre in the West End is particularly evident.  Each year the College auditions over 1000 potential students for 100 places. For further details visit www.birdcollege.co.uk



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