The Gregg School

Alleyn's new performing arts centre wins RIBA London Award

Published on isbi School News dated Friday 1st of October 2010

Alleyn's School and architects van Heyningen and Haward are delighted to have won a RIBA London Award 2010 in the Education and Community category for the Edward Alleyn Building.

The Edward Alleyn Building The RIBA Awards for London are given to buildings in the capital that are of a high standard and demonstrate excellence. Alleyn's School's multi- million pound, state-of-the-art Edward Alleyn Building, including the Michael Croft Theatre is now open and in constant use. The Gala Opening of the building was held on 1st March 2009. While the new building is primarily a resource for Alleyn's School pupils, the theatre with rehearsal, dance studio, lecture theatre and conference facilities is also available to the wider community, hosting the Alleyn's International Concert Series, and Edinburgh Fringe Award 2009 winners, Inspector Sands .

Headmaster, Dr Colin Diggory, said 'It is fitting that this magnificent centre reflects the twin passions of our founder Edward Alleyn: education and the theatre, and we will be delighted to be able to share our facilities with young people across Southwark, Lewisham and Lambeth.'

It is one of the best theatre spaces in London for aspiring actors, not just at Alleyn's, but also among the communities of Southwark, Lewisham and Lambeth, as well as for the National Youth Theatre, which developed out of the school 50 years ago.'Every repertory company would kill for this theatre', Sir Trevor Nunn at the opening of the Michael Croft Theatre.

The National Youth Theatre has a studio in the building to use as a base to stage performances and rehearse. The wider theatrical community will also be offered access to this facility.

Alleyn's has a long and distinguished tradition of supporting the performing arts that stretches back to the School's founder, Edward Alleyn, the superstar actor of the Elizabethan age and contemporary of William Shakespeare.Of course the Edward Alleyn Building is much more than a magnificent performance and exhibition arena. Included in the building is a new Sixth Form Study Centre with IT suite, a University and Careers Centre, heads of house and pastoral meeting rooms and a café. Departmental bases for Religious Studies, Media Studies and Drama are all part of the facilities along with a purpose-built lecture theatre to accommodate up to 100.

Complementing the design of the EAB is an ambitious remodelling of the internal quad areas of the School. This has created quiet social areas alongside space for ball games and a competition-standard netball court. A significant planting programme of trees and shrubs has enhanced the environmental landscape of the School.

RIBA Awards form, arguably, the most rigorously judged awards programme in the world, with every one of the 400 plus entries visited. The RIBA Awards are given for buildings that have high architectural standards and make a substantial contribution to the local environment. The awards are annual and have been running continuously since 1966. In terms of entries, it is the largest regional awards process and represents a vast range of projects from across the city in a variety of sectors. The regional awards are the first step in a process that culminates with the prestigious RIBA Stirling Prize. Deputy Head, Jon Lilly and architect Chris Wilderspin were present at the RIBA Award ceremony on Thursday 20th May.

The buildings are judged in the first instance by shortlisting panels in each region that visit schemes individually and meet to produce a list of buildings to be visited by each region's jury. Each regional jury is made up of a regional architect representative, a lay assessor from various disciplines and the jury chair, who is a nationally renowned architect. They visit the shortlisted projects, talk to clients and users and assess design excellence, irrespective of style, size or complexity of the project.

The schemes selected for RIBA Awards are then viewed by the independent RIBA Awards Committee, made up of nationally acclaimed architects, to ensure that the standards of the awards are consistent throughout the nations and regions.

Story supplied by Christina Hughes-Onslow, Chief Administrative Officer, Alleyn's School
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