WAN Education Award 2015 Shortlist

Yan Zhang
21 Apr 2015

Six finalist chosen to represent the best in Education design

A total of 36 projects were chosen from nearly 100 entries for the WAN Awards 2015 Education category. And six of them are shortlisted. The judging panel includes world leading industry professionals, Head of Design from Lend Lease Lucy Homer, founder and owner of Dorte Mandrup Arkitekter Dorte Mandrup, Malcolm Reading from Malcolm Reading Consultants and Founding Director of Stanton Williams Architects Paul Williams

Paul Williams said: “There is a good mix of entries this year” from restructured old buildings with additional space to meet the demands of growing student numbers, to the well-designed new building for an international university. 

The final selection was as follows:

David Keir Student Hub and Auditorium, Belfast, United Kingdom – Burwell Deakins Architects

The student hub at Queen’s University Belfast is designed for an active set of collaborative spaces that would support and connect different modes of learning whilst encouraging greater use of the David Keir Building’s courtyard. The student hub is fulfilling the need for teaching spaces to reflect the evolving learning landscape with large cohort spaces allowing lecturers to move between didactic and collaborative learning modes. Both Paul Williams and Malcolm Reading said: “it is a very neat and powerful scheme.” “Very nice social and learning spaces in an old building” Dorte Mandrup added. 

University of Amsterdam, Amsterdam, Netherlands – Allford Hall Monaghan Morris

The University of Amsterdam project “cleverly” (Dorte) transformed two utilitarian buildings to a beautiful building in the heart of the Dutch capital. The scheme regenerates a postwar campus right on top of the canal. The two utilitarian buildings were stripped out, cut open, reconfigured and knitted back into the city’s fabric. Malcolm Reading commented that it is a “unique restructure and reorganised building, repurposed in the master plan, innovative, creating better learning experience”. Paul Williams commented, the scheme is “very good; it is a difficult building to change, they did it beautifully, fitted into the master plan nicely.” 

Secondary School Ergolding, Ergolding, Germany – Behnisch Architekten

The new Ergolding Secondary School sits within a far-stretching natural and artificial landscape. 70km northeast from Munich, it provides the much needed secondary school capacities to the region around Bavarian town of Ergolding, close to Landshut. The heart of the new school is a large open atrium that serves as an assembly hall, an interior meeting point, and a visual connection between the schools’ various departments and functions. Dorte Mandrup and Malcolm Reading both agreed it is “a very accomplished piece of work”, “lovely social spaces” for the students. Lucy Homer and Paul Williams both like “the way they fit the setting and the corridors” that lead from the classrooms and workshops, gradually open up and broaden to become ‘extensions of the classrooms’ with individual and group working spaces. 

City Of London Freemen’s School, Ashstead, Surrey, United Kingdom – HawkinsBrown

The project is to build a new music school for the City of London Freeman’s School, with a 200 seat recital hall, practice rooms, KS3 teaching and IT facilities, and a 60 bed boarding house with associated pastoral facilities. The City of London Freeman’s School is a co-educational day and boarding school in Ashtead, Surrey, with the teaching campus situated in the historic grounds of its Grade II* listed Main House. Malcolm Reading and Paul Williams both commented, the scheme is an “example of small architecture commission or practice to make a difference”, and “unique piece of work”, Dorte Mandrup said it is a “well adapted design”, to maximise the accommodation on the site whilst sensitively addressing the historic Grade II* Main House, existing school buildings and external spaces, and neighbouring residential properties. 

UniverCity Childcare Centre, Burnaby, British Columbia, Canada – Hughes Condon Marler Architects

The UniverCity Childcare Centre is located at the heart of Simon Fraser University’s high-density, sustainable community UniverCity in Burnaby, British Columbia, Canada. It is the first childcare centre in the world to integrate the Living Building Challenge™, the built environments most rigorous performance standard, with Reggio Emilia early childhood pedagogy. Lucy Homer said it is “really designed for the children” and “The Three Teachers approach is great”, which are the educator, the environment and the broader community in which the children live. As a result, the childcare facility itself becomes a laboratory for self-directed learning within a space that is flexible enough to respond to the changing nature of education. Malcolm Reading also backed the scheme’s “holistic approach” and was “very impressed by it”. Paul Williams and Dorte Mandrup both said the scheme is “coming from the kids’ experience” and the centre is designed “carefully for the children”. 

Intrinsic School, Chicago, United States – Wheeler Kearns Architects

Intrinsic is a new network of public charter schools in Chicago that blends adaptive, individualised learning with traditional teacher-led instruction. The goal of the project was to convert a disused site for a new school. This bold and unprecedented vision required a campus worthy of this mission. The result is a school without a single traditional classroom. Dorte Mandrup stated, the scheme “is the first breakout from traditional layout “for designing “superb learning space” for students, Malcolm Reading added. As the first school in Chicago – and perhaps the entire United States that is purposefully designed for Blended Learning, it “requires more understanding of the students to be able to achieve this”, Paul Williams said. 

We’d like to say a huge thank you to all who entered and congratulations to the six finalists of this award. From this six, an overall winner will be announced in next week’s News Review, on Tuesday 28th April 2015. 

By: Yan Zhang

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