Prize-nominated architect condemns ministers for ‘cancelling exuberance’ in school buildings

TES 9 October

The lead architect of an award-winning school has criticised the government for failing to provide the funding for new and innovative school buildings.

Paul Monaghan, whose concrete-brutalist design for Burntwood School in South London has been shortlisted for the Royal Institute of British Architects’ Stirling Prize, has said that every pupil in the country has the right to study in an architecturally beautiful, customised building.

Building work on the girls’ secondary, in Wandsworth, was funded by the now-defunct Building Schools for the Future (BSF) programme. In addition to being shortlisted for the Stirling Prize, it has received the Civic Trust and New London Architecture awards.

Speaking to TES, Mr Monaghan, of Allford Hall Monaghan Morris, bemoaned the fact that the Burntwood project was one of the last to be funded by BSF.

“How do we have a bold building, in a world where the government is trying to cancel any exuberance in building at all?” he said.

“It’s actually quite a simple building, with some elements of customisation, elements of beauty, but all affordable,” he said of the Burntwood design. “Why shouldn’t we be building this for every student in this country?”

A spokesman for the Department for Education said that BSF has been replaced by the Priority School Building Programme, which addresses the requirements of those schools most in need of urgent repair.

“It is vital that every child, regardless of background, has access to world-class schools,” he said. “These schools are giving young people across the country the modern learning environment they need to unlock their potential.”

This is an edited version of an article in the 9 October 2015 edition of TES. To read the full article, subscribe to TES

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