The Royal Institute of British Architects has named The Hackney School of Food as the winner of the Stephen Lawrence Prize 2022.
The annual prize was established in 1998 in memory of Stephen Lawrence, a teenager who was on his way to becoming an architect when he was tragically murdered in a racist attack in 1993. Supported and founded by the Marco Goldschmied Foundation, it aims to encourage new architectural talent, celebrating and rewarding projects with a construction budget of less than £1 million.
Previously a derelict school keeper’s house and garage, The Hackney School of Food provides a unique service in the area: an inspiring place to teach children how to grow, cook and eat food, whilst also serving as a crucial community hub.
Due to limited space and budget, Surman Weston looked to retrofit the existing building to realise the client’s vision. Whilst externally, the house appears unchanged, inside it is transformed by the removal of the first floor to create an impressive double-height space. Outside, the derelict gardens have been overhauled to provide vegetable patches, greenhouses and outdoor cooking and eating spaces, forming part of the welcoming oasis for children to learn all about food.
Matthew Goldschmied said: “The success of the Hackney School of Food is not limited to this one site. The architect and client have developed an inspirational blueprint to teach others how to regenerate and enliven their own communities in a similar way. This bold and inventive investment exemplifies the power of architecture to transform not only the building it touches, but the community it serves.”