Bedales receives national architecture award

Posted on November 02nd 2017

Bedales School was presented with a prestigious UK award from the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) at its Stirling Prize awards dinner on 31 October 2017.

The school received the RIBA Client of the Year Award for 2017 for its new Art & Design building, having been nominated by the architects, Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios (FCBS). The first school to win the award, Bedales was chosen ahead of four other award winning shortlisted projects including Tate Modern’s Blavatnik building, Enfield’s Dujardin Mews and two innovative Forestry Commission projects. Following the Bedales presentation, Hastings Pier was announced by RIBA as winner of the coveted Stirling Prize.  

The Bedales Art & Design project was commended in the RIBA report for including “meaningful student involvement throughout the process; from inception and participating in the selection of the architect, through to use of spaces and detail. This meant a very useable and functional building has been created.”

Katie Shannon, who was involved in the project as a Bedales student representative, has since graduated in Architecture from the University of Edinburgh and is pursuing her career as an architectural assistant with FCBS. Katie commented: “Since I was 12 I knew I wanted to become an architect and that ambition flourished during my time at Bedales, as a result of being involved with the selection of FCBS and chairing the student consultations. Through my connection with the architects and Bedales, I am now working with Tom Jarman at FCBS and I am thrilled that Bedales has now been deservedly awarded RIBA Client of the Year. It is a wonderful end to a truly unique project and I feel very lucky to have been a part of it.”

Headmaster Keith Budge added: “This award is real accolade. Consultation was widespread across our school community and we are grateful to all those who helped create a building that is such a fitting emblem of the school’s arts and crafts tradition. I am so pleased that we have been recognised by RIBA for our collective effort in creating a building that is as beautiful as it is useful.” 

Matthew Rice, Bedales Chairman of Governors was quoted in the judges’ report: “If I could insist upon one thing for this project, it would be that there should be all manner of incidental places to be – places to sit, to draw, to fall in love.”

Introduced in 1998, Jury Chair Tom Bloxham MBE explained that RIBA’s Client of the Year Award “rewards clients who work so hard with the architects to achieve excellence. Over the years we’ve seen some fantastic schemes and the vision of the clients never ceases to inspire and amaze me.”

This latest award for the Bedales Art & Design building comes after its recognition by RIBA earlier in the year with a National Award and four Regional Awards.

See report in The Architects' Journal.

Bedales in the local pressRIBA | Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios | Architects' Journal