Burntwood School wins Riba Stirling Prize



burntwood school

This year’s Riba Stirling prize has been awarded to the Burntwood School in Wandsworth. The annual award is one of the UK’s most prestigious architecture awards. Architects Allford Hall Monaghan Morris were behind the design which cost £40.9million to create. The girls’ secondary school in South London was rebuilt between 2011 and 2014.

The modernist 1950s school won the award for the biggest contribution to British architecture in the last year. Beating nominees which included The Whitworth at the University of Manchester, Maggie’s Cancer Care Centre Lanarkshire, NEO Bankside housing and the University of Greenwich Stockwell Street Building.

The judges said “Burntwood sets a standard in school design that every child in Britain deserves. It is a culmination of many years of creative toil by Allford Hall Monaghan Morris in designing schools up and down the country. This is their masterpiece.”

The school was one of the last projects under the Building Schools for the Future scheme which was scrapped by the government in 2010. The project saw the majority of the school’s original 1958 buildings replaced. Six new buildings were added including a sports hall, performing arts centre and a collection of four storey ‘teaching pavilions’. The project also added a covered walkway made from bus stops!

Riba President Jane Duncan, said, the project “shows us how superb school design can be at the heart of raising our children’s educational enjoyment and achievement.” She went on to add that “with the UK facing a huge shortage of school place, it is vital we learn lessons from Burntwood.”

She said Allford Hall Monaghan Morris have created “delightful, resourceful and energy efficient buildings that will benefit the whole community in the long term.”

Director at Allford Hall Monaghan Morris, Paul Monaghan, said schools should be “more than just practical, functional buildings” he added that good design “makes a difference to the way students value themselves and their education.”

The judges praised the building for being the “most accomplished” project nominated and said the “Burntwood School demonstrates the full range of the skills that architects can offer to society… it encompasses great contemporary design and clever reuse of existing buildings as well as superb integration of artwork, landscaping and engineering.”

The school principal Helen Dorfman, said “Staff and students have said on many occasions that the new buildings have greatly improved the quality of their day-to-day experiences at the school and students comment that their commitment to learning has been enhanced.”

Here at Ultimate we love the redesign and think they are a worthy winner of this iconic prize. We have years of experience in the design and fit out of schools and educational facilities, you can find out more about our educational fit out services here, or head over to our case study section to take a look at some of our past projects.


Image: Allford Hall Monaghan Morris

Posted October 20, 2015

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