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RIBA Client of the Year

Hackney New Primary School

RIBA Client of the Year 2022

The RIBA Client of the Year award honours the key role that a good client plays in the creation of fine architecture

Thornsett Group and the Benyon Estate named RIBA Client of the Year 2022

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

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RIBA Client of the Year 2022 jury

The judges for the RIBA Client of the Year 2022 are:

  • Denise Bennetts, Bennetts Associates and Chair of RIBA Awards Group
  • Tracy Meller, RSH + P and Member of RIBA Awards Group
  • Dr Timothy Winter, Cambridge Mosque and winner of the RIBA Client of the Year 2021 award

Chair of the RIBA Client of the Year 2022 jury, Denise Bennetts, said:

"From a South London council to one of Oxford University’s oldest colleges, each of these clients must be commended and upheld for their commitment to considered, quality design. Through commissioning and working alongside exceptionally skilled architects, they have set new benchmarks for housing, workplaces, schools and higher-education facilities. I thank and congratulate them all."


2013 - National Trust

2012 - The Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA)

2011 - The Royal Shakespeare Company

2010 - Hammerson

2009 - Kielder Partnership, Camden & Islington Community Solutions, Parabola Land, 
Grosvenor, Maggie's and The Reverend Nicholas Holtam

2008 - Coin Street Community Builders

2007 - Derwent London

2006 - Royal Botanic Gardens

2005 - Gateshead Council

2004 - Peabody Trust

2003 - City of Manchester

2002 - Urban Splash

2001 - Molendinar Park Housing Association, Glasgow

2000 - Foreign & Commonwealth Office

1999 - Marylebone Cricket Club

1998 - Roland Paoletti

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