Evelyn Grace Academy by Zaha Hadid Architects
wins RIBA Stirling Prize

| 16 comments

Evelyn Grace Academy by Zaha Hadid Architects has won this year’s RIBA Stirling Prize for the greatest contribution to British architecture in the past year.

The prize was awarded at a ceremony held this evening at Magna Science Adventure Centre in Rotherham.

The building was one of six shortlisted entries – more about each one here.

See also:

RIBA Stirling Prize winner 2010 »
All our stories about Zaha Hadid »

All photographs here are copyright Luke Hayes.

Here is some more information from the RIBA


Evelyn Grace Academy in London by Zaha Hadid Architects wins the RIBA Stirling Prize 2011 for the best building of the year
The Evelyn Grace Academy, a cutting-edge new secondary school in Brixton, south London by Zaha Hadid Architects has won the prestigious £20,000 RIBA Stirling Prize 2011 for the best new European building built or designed in the United Kingdom. This is the second year running that Zaha Hadid Architects have won the RIBA Stirling Prize; last year they won the award for their MAXXI Museum of 21st Century Art in Rome; this year they have put the practice’s formidable reputation to great use by breaking new ground in school design. Now in its 16th year, the RIBA Stirling Prize is presented in association with The Architects Journal and Kingspan Benchmark

The presentation of the UK’s premier architectural award took place at a special ceremony this evening (Saturday 1 October) at the RIBA Stirling Prize-winning (2001) Magna Science Adventure Centre in Rotherham, and will be televised tomorrow (Sunday 2 October 2011) on BBC TWO’s The Culture Show at 5pm.

A highly stylized zig-zag of steel and glass, the Evelyn Grace Academy is squeezed on to the tightest of urban sites (1.4 hectares - the average secondary school is 8/9 hectares). The architects received a complex brief: four schools under a single academy umbrella with the need to express both independence and unity. The architects were strongly encouraged by the client to ‘think outside the box’. With such a small space and with sport being one of the Academy’s ‘special subjects’ (each Academy school has one), the architects needed to be highly inventive. They succeeded, for instance by cleverly inserting a 100m running track into the heart of the site taking pupils right up to the front door. By dramatically celebrating the school’s specialism, the RIBA Stirling Prize judges noted ‘this is a design that literally makes kids run to get into school in the morning’.

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.

Speaking tonight, RIBA President Angela Brady, Chair of the judges, 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 run by ARK (Absolute Return for Kids) Academy organisation, a charity set up by Arpad “Arki” Busson, the hedge-fund multimillionaire. ARK aims to offer exceptional opportunities to local children in inner cities with the aim of helping to close the achievement gap between children from disadvantaged and more affluent backgrounds.

Peter Walker, Principal of the Evelyn Grace Academy said:
“This visually stunning building makes a powerful statement to our students every day they attend school. As a new academy setting the highest expectations for all students, it is fitting that we have such an aspirational environment. The internal structure of the building supports the innovative nature of Evelyn Grace Academy’s small school system exceptionally well.”

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.”

Evelyn Grace Academy was chosen from the following outstanding shortlisted entries:

  • An Gaelaras, Derry 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

 

RIBA President Angela Brady announced the winner, editor of The Architects’ Journal, Christine Murray, awarded the £20,000 cheque and Peter Santo, Head of Benchmark presented the certificate to architects Patrik Schumacher and Lars Teichman, and school principal Peter Walker.

The 2011 RIBA Stirling Prize judges were RIBA President and Chair of the judges, Angela Brady; Sir Peter Cook - architect and academic, formerly of Royal Gold Medal winning Archigram; Hanif Kara - engineer, Adams Kara Taylor; Dan Pearson - landscape designer and RIBA Honorary Fellow and Alison Brooks – architect and winner of the RIBA Stirling Prize 2008 with Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios and Maccreanor Lavington for the Accordia housing scheme.

The winners of the RIBA Lubetkin Prize and two special awards were also announced this evening:

  • The Met, a sixty-six storey residential skyscraper in Bangkok, Thailand by WOHA architects won the prestigious RIBA Lubetkin Prize for the most outstanding work of international architecture outside the EU by a member of the RIBA.
  • St. Patrick’s School Library and Music Room in north-west London by Coffey Architects won the RIBA’s 2011 Stephen Lawrence Prize. Set up in memory of Stephen Lawrence who was setting out on the road to becoming an architect when he was murdered in 1993 and funded by the Marco Goldschmied Foundation, the prize rewards the best examples of projects that have a construction budget of less than £1 million and is intended to encourage fresh talent working with smaller budgets.
  • The Royal Shakespeare Company won the 2011 RIBA Client of the Year supported by the Bloxham Charitable Trust. The award recognizes the role good clients play in the delivery of fine architecture.

 

  • Novelty Nausea

    Is this some sort of a joke?

  • edward

    I am not an admirer of Zaha, but this is an exceptional work of architecture.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1035563530 Fernanda Freitas

    Zaha fantástica!

  • https://www.facebook.com/brigitte.clements Brigitte Clements

    surprise!

  • B0dhi

    What a fallacy! How did an award, the opening address of which cited a new confidence of architects to design sustainable buildings rooted in their sense of place, and the need to demonstrate the value of architecture/ architects to inspire and deliver exceptional quality within the rigorous restraints of an increasing unstable economy, end with this result?! Against a building as refined, economic and sustainable as the velodrome, how can the selection of zaha's over-budget, egocentric mega structure be seem as anything other than a misguided ode to BSF's unfortunate demise? Disappointing

  • http://www.facebook.com/kanwaldeep.kapoor Kanwal Deep Kapoor

    Could she do it 3 times in a row…with London Olympic Aquatic Centre !!!

  • DMK

    Sleek. Silly. Self indulgent.

    Typical. Hadid exemplifies her generation.

  • http://goo.gl/savue Daniela

    The integration of the track with the building is really nice, that's a great example of active design.

  • RecentGrad

    I'm getting worried about what this says about British architecture today. Last year the Chipperfield Museum was overlooked and this time more holistic approaches to architecture like the O Donnell and Tuomey project missed out. I was hoping the age of pointless "starchitecture" would be over.

  • Tom

    ohh both stirling & stephen lawrence prize winners are happened to be school projects? aint these just bit too political ~

  • Gavin Berriman

    A great example of what a starchitect will do if you give them 130% of the budget normally afforded to an academy. At a time when architects are being ostracised for overspends, the RIBA in its wisdom, sees fit to promote an egotist to the world as a figurehead of our industry.

    Oh and I bet sports days will be very exciting. I love the way the 'dynamic' building plays with the undersized five lane running track. Did the school get in the way of Zaha's sculpture?

  • edward

    " ‘this is a design that literally makes kids run to get into school in the morning’."

    If so, the design is a success no matter what the carping of the back benches.

  • zee

    Poor kids.
    They look as if they were going to prison.

  • ept

    Its nice but maybe a little ordinary

  • Asya

    They got it all wrong.
    Zaha doesn't deserve it. Period. http://bit.ly/n2ETuD

  • Que

    To zee, My best friends little brother goes there and loves it completely.