The RIBA Sorrell Foundation Schools Award is given annually to the architects of the best new primary or secondary school. Set up in 2007 in collaboration with the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA), it draws attention to the importance of good design in the school environment, and highlights the benefit of engaging with pupils throughout the brief and development processes.
The 2010 shortlist was particularly strong, with two of the shortlisted schools – Christ’s College School, Guildford, and Clapham Manor Primary School, London – also on the Stirling Prize shortlist. The architects’ dedication to creating effective and truly inspiring learning environments, was clear in every scheme, and each had its own particular virtues.
The judges, Mukund Patel of the Sammon Group and formerly of the Department for Children, Schools and Families; Ian Goodfellow of Penoyre & Prasad Architects; and Frances Sorrell, co-founder of the Sorrell Foundation, decided to give the award to Architype for St Luke’s Church of England Primary School, Wolverhampton. A special mention went to dRMM for Clapham Manor Primary School, London.
St Luke’s embodies new ways of teaching and learning. Architype have created a calm, welcoming and uplifting environment; one where every detail has been carefully considered to benefit the children and teachers it serves. Designed without corridors, the airy classrooms are grouped around social spaces, and give way to outdoor spaces with excellent landscaping by Coe Design. St Luke’s is Britain’s first ‘environmentally excellent’ primary school, according to BREEAM standards (BRE Environmental Assessment Method).
As Frances Sorrell said of the school design: ‘Anyone involved in building a new primary school – headteachers and staff, pupils, parents, architects and design teams, and local authorities, should go and see this school together before doing anything else.’