All images©Rob Parrish and Allford Hall Monaghan Morris.
Burntwood School, a large comprehensive girls’ school in Wandsworth, London by Allford Hall Monaghan Morris (AHMM) has won the RIBA Stirling Prize 2015 for the UK’s best new building. The award, now in its 20th year, is the UK’s most prestigious architecture prize.
The transformation of the school sees the introduction of six new structures within an existing educational campus. The design also reorganizes the site, with lawns, squares and a central pedestrian spine. four 4-storey teaching pavilions, a sports hall and a performing arts building, are placed among a number of retained buildings, including two by Sir Leslie Martin, to form a complete and coherent campus.
The judges explained their decision as follows: ‘Burntwood school is the clear winner of the 2015 RIBA Stirling Prize. It is the most accomplished of the six shortlisted buildings because it 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. It is a genuine collaborative project. There was a wonderful working relationship between the head teacher and the architect: a true partnership of equals.’
‘Burntwood School shows us how superb school design can be at the heart of raising our children’s educational enjoyment and achievement,’ commented RIBA President Jane Duncan. ‘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 in the long term. With the UK facing a huge shortage of school places, it is vital we learn lessons from Burntwood. I am delighted to present architects Allford Hall Monaghan Morris with the 2015 RIBA Stirling Prize.’
Upon accepting the award, Paul Monaghan, director of Allford Hall Monaghan Morris said: ‘schools can and should be more than just practical, functional buildings – they need to elevate the aspirations of children, teachers and the wider community. 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.’