Hackney New Primary School and 333 Kingsland Road have been shortlisted for the UK’s most prestigious architecture award.
The hugely successful community project, which was a joint venture between the Benyon Estate, Hackney New Primary School Trust, developers Thornsett and the Education Funding Agency, combines affordable housing with primary school education, on one site.
Now, it’s one of six in the running for the coveted Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) 2022 Stirling Prize.
Built on a former fire station site, the 11-storey development opened in 2019 and is considered particularly innovative as the 68 apartments are built above the school and reserved for Londoners on low and middle incomes.
The Estate says the award shortlisting will help showcase this powerful collaboration on a national stage, highlighting how the building is at the heart of a thriving, multi-cultural local community, bringing education, business and residents, young and old, together in one place.
Edward Benyon, Estate Manager for the Benyon Estate, said:
"It is a collaboration that continues to go from strength to strength and the striking architecture of the building has made it a real focal point of the area.
“Being part of such a prestigious architecture competition will help us share the positive impact this building has had on the local community and equally, how this was all made possible by a hugely successful, cross sector partnership.”
Designed by London-based architects Henley Halebrown, the building has already won a number of awards, including both the RIBA National and Regional Awards for 2022, and the 2021 Brick Award for Urban Regeneration. As well as its Stirling Prize shortlisting, it is also in the running for the RIBA Neave Brown Award for Housing 2022, which recognises the UK’s best affordable housing.
Simon Henley, a Director at Henley Halebrown, who have themselves been shortlisted in two categories at the 2022 Architect of the Year Awards, said: “As a practice, we’re very moved to be on this prestigious shortlist and happy that our approach to urbanism, looking at both English and continental models, has generated enthusiasm.
We have worked on this project in a way that, we hope, gives back to the local community, underlying our commitment as a studio to the importance of social value in architecture.”
Now in its 26th year and considered the highest accolade in architecture, the Stirling Prize citation describes the building as ‘a striking red-brick complex that uniquely combines affordable housing with a new primary school for the growing east London community.’ The overall winning building will be announced on October 13th at RIBA’s London offices.
In announcing the shortlist, RIBA President Simon Alford also highlighted the partnership approaches amongst all the contenders, saying: “All six buildings are informed by close consultation and collaboration with clients, contractors and the community. The result is outstanding and welcoming architecture that lifts the spirit of all who engage with it.”
Judges also highlighted the architects’ success in dealing with a challenging site, saying: “With the elimination of internal corridors forming an inner world of a closely knit courtyard and classroom, it is clear the architects have had to be inventive to deliver the required light and ventilation on this restricted school site.”
Hackney New Primary School welcomed its 350 pupils in November 2019 when they were introduced to its state-of-the-art learning space, thanks to the Education Funding Agency.
Currently rated as outstanding by Ofsted, the school is situated over two and three storeys, with a roof garden and multi activity outdoor space. It was a welcome new home for staff and pupils who had been using temporary, portable cabins in Downham Road, while building work was carried out.
There are a number of key features in the architectural design of the school that benefit staff and pupils, including recessed windows facing out onto the playground outside designed with deeper window ledges to double up as benches for children to sit on.
The school is part of the Eko Trust, a multi-academy family of six schools spread across the London Boroughs of Hackney, Newham and Barking and Dagenham. The Trust was set up to ensure a collaborative approach to learning - working with parents to nurture grow and develop their young people, as part of the educational process.