Entertainment & Arts

Riba Stirling Prize: Burntwood School wins award

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Media captionBurntwood School "sets a standard in school design", the judges said

A girls' secondary school in south London has won the Riba Stirling Prize, the UK's leading architecture award.

Burntwood School in Wandsworth was rebuilt between 2011 and 2014 at a cost of £40.9m, to a design by architects Allford Hall Monaghan Morris.

The Stirling Prize judges said it was the "clear winner".

They said it was the "most accomplished of the six shortlisted buildings" and showed "the full range of the skills that architects can offer to society".

The judges added: "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."

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Media captionArchitect Paul Monaghan made spoke after Burntwood School was announced as the Riba Stirling Prize winner

Burntwood School was one of the last projects under the Building Schools for the Future scheme, which was scrapped by the government in 2010.

Michael Gove, education secretary at the time, gave permission for the work to go ahead despite the end of the policy.

Image copyright Timothy Soar
Image caption The school principal said the buildings had improved the students' day-to-day experiences
Image copyright Timothy Soar
Image caption The school interior features artworks and murals

Six new buildings were erected on the school campus - four four-storey "teaching pavilions", a sports hall and a performing arts centre.

They replaced most of the school's original 1958 buildings. The new complex also includes a covered walkway fashioned from off-the-peg bus-stops and colourful murals throughout the buildings.

Image copyright Timothy Soar
Image caption A covered walkway is made from bus stops
Image copyright Timothy Soar
Image caption Riba said the buildings were 'delightful, resourceful and energy efficient'

Royal Institute of British Architects (Riba) president Jane Duncan said it "shows us how superb school design can be at the heart of raising our children's educational enjoyment and achievement".

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

"With the UK facing a huge shortage of school places, it is vital we learn lessons from Burntwood."

Allford Hall Monaghan Morris director Paul Monaghan said schools should be "more than just practical, functional buildings", and good design "makes a difference to the way students value themselves and their education".

Image copyright Alan Williams
Image caption The Whitworth gallery in Manchester topped a BBC readers' vote

Burntwood School principal Helen Dorfman said: "The whole Burntwood School community is delighted and proud that the scheme has been recognised as being worthy of the Stirling Prize.

"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."

The award was handed out at a ceremony in London on Thursday.

The Whitworth art gallery in Manchester topped a BBC readers' vote, gaining 38% of all votes of the shortlisted buildings, with Maggie's Centre, Lanarkshire in second place.


Explore the other buildings on the shortlist


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