Evelyn Grace Academy, London
Awarded yearly by the Royal Institute of British Architects, the Stirling Prize is worth 20,000 pounds sterling, and distinguishes the work of British architects in the European Union. For two years in a row the prize has gone to the studio of Zaha Hadid, this time for the Evelyn Grace Academy, a school in the London neighborhood of Brixton. Nominated in previous occasions, the office of the Anglo-Iraqi architect won this award for the first time last year with the MAXXI of Rome. The Evelyn Grace project (see Arquitectura Viva 133 and AV Monographs 152) posed a unique challenge: grouping four schools within the same institution and giving each one at once a personal identity and an overall image that would seem coherent. Furthemore, the Academy, although specialized in sports education, paradoxically lacked significant facilities of this type. The jury has valued the exemplary way in which the proposal of Zaha Hadid’s team has addressed these factors, giving priority to the functionality of the pieces within a careful planning that, in spite of everything, does not give up its peculiar formal expressiveness.