Minster School and New Art Exchange win design awards30 October 2009 TWO impressive new buildings in Notts - an exciting arts centre and a re-built school - have scooped top design "Oscars" in a prestigious regional competition for architectural excellence.
The New Art Exchange in Hyson Green, Nottingham, and the Minster School in Southwell, have each won a 2009 Riba (Royal Institute of British Architects) EM Award.
Minster School was also hailed as the top new school building in the country after winning the 2009 Sorrell Foundation Schools Award, which goes to the architects of the best Riba award-winning school design project.
Again sponsored by Ibstock Brick and East Midlands Development Agency (Emda), the awards celebrate the finest examples of architectural excellence in the region.
Designed by Hawkins/Brown Architects, the New Art Exchange on Gregory Boulevard, for Black and Asian arts, is proving to be a catalyst in the regeneration of the inner city suburb of Hyson Green.
This "striking black cube" is built in tough black engineering brick with an arrangement of multiple windows enabling local people to see much of the activity going on inside.
In turn, people inside have views looking out at all angles, connecting them to the streets outside, helping to forge stronger links with the local community.
The judges said: "The challenge was to bring together two rival arts organisations, one Afro-Caribbean and the other Asian. The building has clearly established a lively exchange and collaboration between the two communities."
The re-built Minster School in Southwell was designed by architects Penoyre & Prasad. The new secondary school for 1,600 pupils has strong links with Southwell Minster and is the largest building to be constructed in the small Georgian town since the Minster itself was built in the 12th Century.
An exciting and challenging educational environment for the 21st Century, the new school is a genuine community resource for the town.
Previously split between two sites, the new building is sympathetic to its setting and has re-established the school's identity.
RIBA EM Awards panel chairman Tony Parr said: "It is tremendous that these two outstanding new buildings in Nottinghamshire have scooped top architectural awards.
"Their success highlights the good design and creativity that architects can bring to exciting new projects such as these."
Speaking about the Minster School on behalf of the Sorrell Foundation Schools Award, Lady Frances Sorrell said: "When a school goes through the journey of modernising learning, it need classrooms like this which are highly adaptable.
"The new school has a bright and interested pool of pupils to draw on and they are clearly making good use of the opportunity because the resulting anatomy works very convincingly.
"From the unique locker design to the wheelchair-height water fountains, it is clear that so much care has gone into the design of this school."
The judges said it was evident that the new building was creating a sense of aspiration in the pupils.
The design takes a thorough and robust approach to sustainability, incorporating natural stack ventilation, high levels of insulation, under-floor heating with high-efficiency boilers and rainwater recycling to reduce water consumption.