CABE hails the pace-setters for 2007
2 January 2007
This year's Festive Five Awards go to individuals, public sector organisations and private companies who have championed well-designed schools and the principles of inclusive design.
CABE is beginning the new year by highlighting the individuals and organisations who, by championing well-designed buildings and spaces, have set the standards for design in 2007.
Each year CABE gives a Festive Five Award to five individuals, five public sector organisations and five private companies whose forward thinking and high aspirations have resulted in great architecture and design.
This year the awards focus on school design and inclusive design - two of CABE's core priorities and where the country faces some of its biggest challenges. The awards acknowledge those who understand the importance of good design for effective teaching and learning, and also major strides to create buildings and places that can be used and enjoyed by everyone.
Richard Simmons, chief executive of CABE, said:
'School design and inclusive design are often misunderstood and poorly executed. These are two areas where standards have to rise dramatically in 2007. The people and projects recognised here set a benchmark for what everyone should be achieving everywhere.'
The winners will receive CABE certificates and a written commendation.
Dick Hibdige, deputy headteacher, Bedminster Down Secondary School
Dick Hibdige insisted on high-quality design for the recently completed PFI Bedminster Down Secondary School in Bristol. Dick Hibdige, working with a CABE enabler, used the opportunity of the new school to achieve a step change in the quality of the educational environment for the young people and the wider community using the school's facilities. He persuaded all those involved of the importance of good design and the new school reflects this. The design, by NVB Architects, addresses some of the key issues for secondary schools, such as dining areas and toilets. Dick Hibdige's inspiration and persistence have set a standard for future school building in Bristol. He is currently on secondment to Bristol City Council's Building Schools for the Future team.
Jason Longhurst, director, River Nene Regional Park, Northamptonshire
Jason Longhurst has played a pivotal role in creating the River Nene Regional Park. This is not a 'park' in the traditional sense, but a network of environmental, sport and cultural projects to go hand in hand with new housing proposals which will link existing and future communities. Working effectively with all partners on the project, Jason Longhurst has overseen widespread consultation to guide positive environmental change and provide green space and improved quality of life in the Milton Keynes South Midlands growth area. This is the first time that a project of this kind is being developed to provide sympathetic links between urban and rural environments.
Tony O'Sullivan, consultant community paediatrician, Lewisham Primary Care Trust
Tony O'Sullivan has been a driving force behind Kaleidoscope, the Lewisham Children and Young People's Centre, designed by van Heyningen and Haward Architects and completed in 2006. He pushed forward innovative ideas for delivering and organising services for children and young people in Lewisham. A comprehensive range of services - meeting specialist child health, mental health, social care and educational needs - has been integrated under one roof in a high-quality, family-friendly environment. Tony O'Sullivan constantly spoke up for the new building and its design and ensured effective consultation between the design team and users of the building.
Tim Pritchard, team landscape architect, Urban Design, Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council
Tim Pritchard has helped to realise an aspiration to replace a busy ring road with a completely new public square in West Bromwich. The overall concept and design for the new square were complex and presented many challenges. Tim Pritchard was incisive about the contributions that were needed from a wide range of stakeholders and sought advice from CABE. West Bromwich Town Square is an example of how a bold approach to street design can transform a town centre previously dominated by traffic.
Jane Stoneham, director, Sensory Trust
Since Jane Stoneham become director of the Sensory Trust in 1996, it has achieved an enormous amount in breaking down barriers and raising awareness about inclusive design. Under her leadership, the Trust has vigorously promoted an inclusive approach to the design and management of outdoor space; richer connections between people and place; and equality of access for all people regardless of age, disability or background. Current projects include improving access to Sheffield City Council's parks and woodlands, connecting older people and people with disabilities with their local public spaces, and the Inclusive Design for Getting Outdoors (I'DGO) project to improve quality of life for older people.
Public sector organisations
London Borough of Barking and Dagenham
The London Borough of Barking and Dagenham has procured a series of excellent buildings for its Sure Start programme. A key member of the team ensuring good service for children, parents and staff through high-quality design is Joy Barter, Group Manager for Early Years and Childcare in Children's Services. She has insisted on exemplary childcare in well-designed buildings and, in particular, appreciates how important it is for each building to respond to its location and the community it serves. Projects that have come through so far include the John Perry Children's Centre in Dagenham, designed by DSDHA, shortlisted for the Prime Minister's Better Public Building Award and winner of a RIBA award in 2006, and the Abbey Children's Centre in Barking by Cazenove Architects. The Abbey Children's Centre, completed in 2005, provides a vibrant landmark in a previously depressed area of east London.
Birmingham City Council
Birmingham City Council is working towards radical improvements in learning opportunities. It is developing an innovative network of schools and community facilities, modernizing the best of its secondary schools and replacing those that are no longer suitable. Peter Farrell, Head of Infrastructure Transformation, and Sylvia McNamara, Director of Transforming Education, are providing the leadership, inspiration and motivation to make this happen. In November 2006, Birmingham City Council invested in a 'Blue Sky Charette: Revitalising teaching and learning in Birmingham' which was facilitated by CABE and brought together six design practices to develop design ideas for three Building Schools for the Future sample schools.
Museum of Childhood, Bethnal Green, London
Much effort has gone into making the Museum of Childhood more child-friendly. The refurbishment of the museum, which is part of the Victoria and Albert Museum, was designed by Caruso St. John Architects and completed in early December 2006. There is a stunning new entrance and the museum has been made fully accessible. Children and people with disabilities can now enter the museum by its main approach without having to use steps. There is a new public lift which serves all the main areas; new gallery spaces; updated visitor facilities; and a new system of circulation within the existing building behind the new entrance. The result is a building restored to its former Victorian glory which at the same time enables children of all ages as well as adults to visit and enjoy the collections.
National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London
Improving access to the Royal Observatory at the National Maritime Museum posed particular challenges. Much sensitivity was needed to reconcile conservation of a Grade 1-listed building designed by Sir Christopher Wren and its historic environment with the changes needed to overcome barriers to access. The lack of a passenger lift between the lower and upper levels of Flamsteed House had prevented people unable to use stairs from visiting the building. The design by Pegasus Architects has achieved inclusive access while at the same time ensuring minimum intervention to the historic fabric of Flamsteed House. There is now a new main entrance with level access and a new external platform lift. Although a small project, these improvements have had a significant impact on the way the building is visited and used.
North Somerset Council
The Campus at Locking Castle, Weston-super-Mare, is greater than the sum of its very good parts. Designed by David Morley Architects and winner of RIBA and RICS awards, it combines a primary school and nursery; a school for children with special needs; a library; a council one-stop-shop; meeting rooms; sports and changing facilities; a skateboard park; and hydrotherapy pool. North Somerset Council have succeeded in providing facilities for different sectors of the community under one roof in an inspiring, accessible and inclusive environment which creates a new focal point for the area.
bptw partnership, for Pepys Estate, Deptford, London
The Pepys Estate, designed by bptw partnership, has been built to Lifetime Homes standards and is featured in Accessible London: achieving an inclusive environment. The scheme replaces several blocks of 1960s corridor access flats: it rose to new challenges and opened up new opportunities. A key objective was to improve the personal safety of residents and visitors to the estate at ground level. This has been achieved by a design that gives priority to pedestrians, cyclists and social use and dramatically calms traffic in the area. The design for car parking, approaches and entrances, circulation within the buildings, habitable spaces, bathroom and toilets all contribute to an inclusive and accessible environment. Extensive consultation with tenants resulted directly in the addition of more internal storage, private gardens and large balconies. The estate won a Silver Building for Life Award in 2006.
Capita Percy Thomas, for Academy of St Francis of Assisi, Liverpool
Capita Percy Thomas has achieved something unique: the Academy of St Francis of Assisi in Liverpool, which opened in February 2006, is the first genuinely sustainable school procured in England and is the first academy to specialize in science, the environment and sustainable ways of living. Students are aware that they are entering a different kind of school even before they enter the classroom: the outer walls are covered in plants to help drainage. A solar-powered atrium harnesses the sun and provides up to three per cent of the school's electricity. There is a cyber café, roof garden and a room where most of the furniture is made from recycled material. Classes for 11 to 12 year olds have their own garden space and students will also be able to work on the land as the school backs on to Newsham Park - one of Liverpool's most underused amenities. The school has been a force for urban regeneration in one of the city's most deprived areas and it has much to contribute towards the development of a sustainable schools strategy.
Mind the Gap Theatre, Bradford
Mind the Gap is the largest disability-related theatre company outside London. It aims to dismantle the barriers to artistic excellence so that learning disabled and non-disabled artists can perform alongside one another as equals. It believes in quality, equality and inclusion - and also that environments must be designed to allow people to use them as effectively as possible without unnecessary assistance from others. These principles are being rigorously applied by Mind the Gap in its approach to its new premises in the Grade II-listed Lister's Mill in Bradford. Working with Allen Tod Architecture, it is insisting on seamlessly inclusive design to create a space that feels safe and secure where people can work and learn. A meticulous client, it has considered every detail of the design - including door handles, use of colour and other visible clues for way-finding - to ensure that the needs of those using the building are fully met. The new premises are expected to be completed in 2007.
Sjölander da Cruz Architects, for Sure Start children's centres, Warwickshire
Sjölander da Cruz Architects have made a particularly impressive contribution to Warwickshire County Council's Sure Start programme. Their work includes Newdigate Children's Centre in Bedworth Heath, Newbold Riverside Children's Centre in Rugby, Hatter's Space Children's Centre in Nuneaton, and Bedworth Heath Children's Centre, which has been shortlisted for the 2007 Architect's Journal Small Projects Award. All are simply designed but well planned and detailed, with flexible spaces and good use of colour. The architects have demonstrated both that difficult briefs, such as refurbishment and extensions to existing buildings, can be overcome with considered architectural thought and also that well-designed and functional buildings which fully meet the needs of children, parents and staff can be achieved within modest budgets. This is all the more impressive given the mediocre buildings that many local authorities still produce.
Studio E Architects, for City of London Academy
The City of London Academy was the 2006 winner of the Prime Minister's Better Public Building Award. The site was challenging because it was split in two by a busy road. Studio E Architects designed the school to have a light and airy atrium at its heart providing daylight and natural ventilation. The atrium also acts as a dramatic entrance and social hub for the school. The school provides a very effective learning environment; since opening in September 2005, results have been good. As the principal, Martyn Coles, remarked: 'Learning by design really means something here.' In addition, the school includes facilities for community use and is expected to be a catalyst for local regeneration.