The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) has named Thornsett Group Plc and the Benyon Estate as RIBA Client of the Year 2022. The annual RIBA award recognises exemplar clients who champion and commission outstanding architecture.
The joint clients commissioned Henley Halebrown to create Hackney New Primary School and 333 Kingsland Road in 2015 – a project that has since been upheld for its significant contribution to the East London community as a piece of social infrastructure.
Located on London’s Kingsland Road, this hybrid scheme skilfully combines a community-led school with 68 apartments on a complex urban site. The deliberately compact housing block – which includes 68 rented homes, 50% of which are offered below the average market rent – frees up the maximum footprint for the school, whilst also providing a substantial baffle from noise and emissions from the neighbouring busy road.
The school has been designed without inner corridors to increase visibility and foster a sense of community, while the centrally placed cloistered courtyard acts as the hub of this miniature village-like setup, providing a safe, open space for the children to play.
As the building meets the street below the apartments, a welcoming colonnade generously extends the pavement and provides access to the new commercial units, completing the multi-faceted urban complex.
Chair of the RIBA Client of the Year jury Denise Bennetts said:
"I thank and congratulate both Thornsett Group Estate PLC and the Benyon Estate for their commitment to addressing the local community’s needs for affordable housing and a primary school. Their resolve and dedication enabled Henley Halebrown to design and deliver visually striking and practical facilities – a critical and clever hybrid intervention that maximises the potential of an extremely complex site.”
The RIBA Client of the Year 2022 jury was chaired by Denise Bennetts, founder of Bennetts Associates; with Tracy Meller, Senior Partner at RSHP; and Dr Timothy Winter, Cambridge Mosque Trustee, Founder and Dean of the Cambridge Muslim College and winner of the RIBA Client of the Year 2021.