Bermondsey comprehensiv school by by architect Studio E beat 13 other nominated schemes

The City of London Academy by architect Studio E has won this year’s Prime Minister’s Better Public Building Award.

The designers received the award last night for the comprehensive school in Bermondsey, south London, beating off 13 other shortlisted schemes.

CABE praised the academy’s huge atrium, which it said acted as a dramatic entrance as well as the social hub of the school.

City of London Academy

John Sorrell, chair of CABE, said he thought the design of academies was significantly better than those of other schools. He said: “‘It is interesting that academies appear to enjoy considerably better design than other schools. The key difference appears to be not just cost but the extra time for design and consultation in the early stages of the project.”

The win comes after CABE’s design audit of schools in July, which found that design quality was not good enough to transform the education system.

Despite this, minister for schools Jim Knight said a school deserved to win. He said: “After seeing the high quality of new schools that are being built I am not at all surprised by this award. We want buildings that are fully inclusive and which are open to wider use, binding schools into their local communities. It's vital that parents and pupils get involved in the design of new schools and sustainability is at the heart of every project.”

The criteria for the prize, which goes only to publicly funded building schemes, is both design quality and procurement practice. That is why a flood alleviation project and a viaduct have made it on to the shortlist this year.

Last year’s winner was Bennett Associate’s PFI Jubilee Library in Brighton.

The award, which has been running for six years, is sponsored by CABE and the Office of Government Commerce.

The full shortlist is:

  • Evelina Children’s Hospital, London
  • Broadland Flood Alleviation Project, Norfolk Broads
  • Lavender Sure Start and Children’s Centre, Mitcham, Surrey
  • The National Assembly for Wales, Cardiff
  • Salcey Treetop Walk, Salcey Forest, Northamptonshire
  • Jamestown Viaduct, Inverkeithing, Fife
  • City of London Academy, London
  • Stewart Stockman Building, Addlestone, Surrey
  • Water Activities Centre, Whitlingham Country Park, Trowse, Norfolk
  • Paddington Bridge Project, London
  • John Perry Children’s Centre, Dagenham, Essex
  • The Hub, Regent’s Park, London
  • M25 Junctions 12-15 widening and M25 spur road, London
  • Montrose Replacement Bridge, Montrose, Angus