School win for 2015 RIBA Stirling Prize

Burntwood School in London, by Allford Hall Monaghan Morris, has won the RIBA Stirling Prize 2015 for the UK's best new building

Burntwood School is a large comprehensive girls’ school in Wandsworth, London

Now in its 20th year, the RIBA Stirling Prize, sponsored by Almacantar, is the UK’s most prestigious architecture prize.

The presentation of the RIBA Stirling Prize trophy to architects AHMM took place at a special ceremony this October at the Royal Institute of British Architects in London.

AHMM’s transformation of Burntwood School reimagines a 1950’s modernist secondary school campus for 2,000 girls and 200 staff. The architects created six new faculty buildings and two large cultural buildings linking original buildings by renowned 1950s/1960s architect Sir Leslie Martin.

Every building is full of light and air with double height spaces at the end of each corridor to increase natural daylight and create well-framed views. It offers a range of teaching spaces from conventional classrooms to interactive open spaces.

This is the first time AHMM has won the RIBA Stirling Prize, although they have been shortlisted three times for previous projects: Westminster Academy (2008), Kentish Town Health Centre (2009) and for the Angel Building, London (2011).

RIBA 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. 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.”

Paul Monaghan, Director, Allford Hall Monaghan Morris added: “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.”

Helen Dorfman, Principal, Burntwood School 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.”

Further shortlisted entries in the education sector were:

* University of Greenwich Stockwell Street Building, London by Heneghan Peng architects (below – credit: Hufton + Crow)

* The Whitworth, University of Manchester by MUMA (below – credit: Alan Williams)

 For more visit: www.architecture.com/ribastirlingprize

 Burntwood School images credit: Timothy Soar / Rob Parrish