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Evelyn Grace Academy wins 2011 Stirling Prize

In an unexpected departure from the script for the evening Evelyn Grace Academy in Brixton, London, won the highest accolade at the 2011 RIBA Stirling Prize award dinner making it two wins in a row for ZHA.

The Stirling Prize jury commented: Evelyn Grace had a complex brief: four schools under a single academy umbrella and the consequent dichotomy of having to express both independence and unity. Curiously for a school whose speciality is sport, the site lacks any opportunity for significant outdoor sport but the architects have responded with guile and intelligence. The project is distinguished by its planning not its form of expression; its saltire plan solving the multiple demands of site and usage in a manner that seems effortless. Internally the academy is a functional modern school, with occasional spatial moments as reminders that this is real architecture, though not in any way at the expense of utility or value. And it makes kids run to get into school in the morning - what free school is going to do that?

Peter Walker, the Academy's principal 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."


Watch a video by the RIBA here
Watch the Awards Ceremony on BBC iPlayer