Elegant nursery in a north London park wins 2013 Stephen Lawrence Prize

Montpelier Community Nursery, London by AY Architects, an elegant new pavilion building squeezed into a backland site in north London, has been awarded with the 2013 Royal Institute of British Architects’ (RIBA) Stephen Lawrence Prize - an architecture award that recognises fresh talent and smaller construction budgets. The presentation of the award and a £5000 prize to AY Architects took place at a ceremony in London this evening - an architecture award that recognises fresh talent and smaller construction budgets

The Stephen Lawrence Prize, sponsored by the Marco Goldschmied Foundation, rewards the best examples of projects that have a construction budget of less than £1 million. The prize, set up in memory of the teenager who was setting out on the road to becoming an architect when he was murdered in 1993, is intended to encourage fresh talent working with smaller budgets.

Set up in memory of the teenager who was setting out on the road to becoming an architect when he was murdered in 1993, is intended to encourage fresh talent working with smaller budgets.

Speaking about Montpelier Community Nursery, the judges said:

‘The architects were key to the vision for the nursery which was delivered without compromise and produces an all-encompassing educational experience.

‘The selection of materials was a key part of the success. The black stained Siberian larch cladding allows the nursery to sit inconspicuously in amongst the treescape and contrasts with the white-washed internal timber against which the playful objects to come to life.’

The five other projects that were shortlisted for the prize are:

    • 25 Tanners Hill (private home and gallery), London by Dow Jones Architects
    • The Chapel of Saint Albert the Great, Edinburgh, by Simpson & Brown Architects
    • Church Walk (housing), London by David Mikhail and Annalie Riches
    • The Filling Station, London by Carmody Groarke
    • Slip House, London by Carl Turner Architects

The judges for the 2013 Stephen Lawrence Prize were: Baroness Lawrence; Marco Goldschmied, architect and past RIBA President; Mary Duggan, architect and winner of the 2012 Stephen Lawrence Prize; and Phil Coffey winner of the 2011 Stephen Lawrence Prize.

Previous winners of the Stephen Lawrence Prize include Kings Grove by Duggan Morris Architects (2012); St Patrick's Primary School Library and Music Room by Coffey Architects (2011);Artist’s House by Gumuchdjian Architects (2010); El Ray by Simon Conder Associates (2009); Sackler Crossing by John Pawson (2008); Wooda by David Sheppard Architects (2007) and Wrap House by Alison Brooks Architects (2006).

St Patrick's Primary School Library and Music Room by Coffey Architects (2011);Artist’s House by Gumuchdjian Architects (2010); El Ray by Simon Conder Associates (2009); Sackler Crossing by John Pawson (2008); Wooda by David Sheppard Architects (2007) and Wrap House by Alison Brooks Architects (2006).

The Architects’ Journal is media partner for the RIBA Awards and special awards and trade media partner for the RIBA Stirling Prize.

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Notes to editors

1.For more information about the Stephen Lawrence Prize please contact Beatrice Cooke in the RIBA Press Office on 020 7307 3813; or beatrice.cooke@riba.org

2.Images of Montpelier Community Nursery can be downloaded here:

https://app.box.com/s/ji7e5ojsimkhntiaekf9

3.The citation for the winning building:

Montpelier Community Nursery

Brecknock Road, London N19

Architect:  AY Architects

Client:  Camden Community Nurseries

Contractor:  Forest Gate Construction Co

Structural Engineer:    Price & Myers

Services Engineer:  King Shaw Associates

Contract Value:  £429,000

Date of completion:    April 2012

Gross internal area:     136 sq m

The architects were key to the vision for the nursery which is why it was delivered without compromise and produces an all-encompassing educational experience.

The location is a park set back from the street surrounded by rear gardens walls and a detached house used as a special school.  The building is designed to maximise sunlight, with a part-glazed saw tooth roof orientated north-south.  The form of the building is shaped to fill the permitted footprint and opens onto a part-sheltered play area.

Internally the rooms are treated as giant furniture items working against the geometry of the structure. They are cleverly designed with and easily navigable by a small child.

The selection of materials was a key part of the success. The black stained Siberian larch cladding allows the nursery to sit inconspicuously in amongst the treescape and contrasts with the white-washed internal timber against which the playful objects to come to life.

4.For more information on The Architects’ Journal visit www.architectsjournal.co.uk

5.The Royal Institute of British Architects champions better buildings, communities and the environment through architecture and its members. www.architecture.com

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