Wandsworth school scoops prestigious Stirling Prize to complete RIBA hat-trick

A Wandsworth school has won the coveted RIBA Stirling Prize, the UK’s most prestigious architecture award.

Burntwood School, a large comprehensive girls’ school, beat five other shortlisted entries to be awarded the prize for the UK’s best new building yesterday.

Both staff and students helped with the design process, and students had significant input in designing the library as well as the new school logo.

The Royal Institute of British Architects President, Jane Duncan, said: “Burntwood School shows us how superb school design can be at the heart of raising our children’s educational enjoyment and achievement.”

Architecture firm Allford Hall Monaghan Morris’s transformation of the school reimagines a modernist secondary school campus for 2,000 girls and 200 staff.

BurntwoodSchool Library (C) Timothy Soar_17
LIBRARY: Students were involved in the design process

Ms Duncan said: “Allford Hall Monaghan Morris, experienced school architects, have created a stunning campus. They have produced delightful, resourceful and energy efficient buildings that will benefit the whole community.”

The school’s buildings encompass great contemporary design with clever reuse of existing structures.

Double height spaces at the end of each corridor mean that the school is full of natural light, and large, colourful murals throughout the buildings cleverly combine signposting with modern art.

Principal Helen Dorfman is delighted with the prize, and has already seen the benefits of the school’s mammoth makeover among pupils.

Ms Dorfman said: “I think it has improved young peoples’ self-esteem because the building makes them feel valued and respected.

“A lot of the girls say that it has refocused their minds on the importance of education.”

BurntwoodSchool exterior (C) Timothy Soar_14BURNTWOOD SCHOOL: The mammoth makeover has boosted pupil’s self-esteem

The school has won the RIBA Regional and RIBA National awards in previous years, but the 2015 Stirling Prize is without a doubt their crowning glory.

Paul Monaghan, director of Allford Hall Monaghan Morris, said: “Good school design makes a difference to the way students value themselves and their education, and we hope that Burntwood winning the RIBA Stirling Prize shows that this is worth investing in.”

This is the first time AHMM has won the RIBA Stirling Prize.

Featured picture © Rob Parrish, with thanks
Other pictures © Timothy Soar, with thanks

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