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Brixton school wins architecture gong

3 Oct 11 The Evelyn Grace Academy in Brixton, south London, by Zaha Hadid Architects has won the £20,000 RIBA Stirling Prize 2011.

Evelyn Grace Academy
Evelyn Grace Academy

This is the second year running that Zaha Hadid Architects have won the Stirling Prize, having won last year with the Maxxi Museum of 21st Century Art in Rome

The Evelyn Grace Academy is described as a highly stylized zig-zag of steel and glass, squeezed onto a compact urban site. The architects received a complex brief: four schools under a single academy umbrella with the need to express both independence and unity.

RIBA president Angela Brady said: “The Evelyn Grace Academy is an exceptional example of what can be achieved when we invest carefully in a well-designed new school building. The result - a highly imaginative, exciting Academy that shows the students, staff and local residents that they are valued - is what every school should and could be. The unique design, expertly inserted into an extremely tight site, celebrates the school’s sports specialism throughout its fabric, with drama and views of student participation at every contortion and turn. Evelyn Grace Academy is a very worthy winner of architecture’s most prestigious award and I am delighted to present Zaha Hadid Architects with this accolade.”

The Evelyn Grace Academy is the first school to win the RIBA Stirling Prize, with seven schools shortlisted in previous years. It is the first time that Zaha Hadid Architects have designed a school and their first large-scale project in the UK. Previously they designed a Maggie's Centre in Scotland and more recently they have completed the Riverside Museum in Glasgow and the London Aquatics Centre for the 2012 Olympics.

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Zaha Hadid said: “It is very significant that our first project in London is the Evelyn Grace. Schools are among the first examples of architecture that everyone experiences and have a profound impact on all children as they grow up. I am delighted that the Evelyn Grace Academy has been so well received by all its students and staff.”

Main contractor for the £37.5m project was Mace Plus and structural engineer was Arup.

The Evelyn Grace Academy is run by ARK (Absolute Return for Kids) Academy organisation, a charity set up by Arpad 'Arki' Busson, the hedge-fund multimillionaire.

Other shortlisted buildings were:

  • An Gaelaras, Londonderry by O’Donnell and Tuomey
  • The Angel Building, London by Allford Hall Monaghan Morris (AHMM)
  • Folkwang Museum, Essen, Germany by David Chipperfield Architects
  • Olympic Velodrome London 2012 by Hopkins Architects, supported by the Olympic Delivery Authority
  • Royal Shakespeare and Swan Theatres, Stratford by Bennetts Associates

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