The Red House - Home to Plymouth School of Creative Arts - Photo by Hufton Crow Photography

The Red House and Plymouth College of Art shortlisted for prestigious international architectural award

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The Red House, designed by Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios and home to Plymouth School of Creative Arts, has been shortlisted in the final six for the prestigious international Architects’ Journal AJ100 Building of the Year award, the authoritative study of business of architecture, alongside buildings such as Buenos Aires Ciudad Casa de Gobierno, the offices of the President of Argentina.

Plymouth College of Art and Plymouth School of Creative Arts have also been shortlisted for the AJ100 Client of the Year award, nominated by Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios. Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios has been shortlisted for an AJ100 Employer of the Year award.

These new announcements come in addition to The Red House’s recent shortlisting for a RIBA (Royal Institute of British Architects) South West regional award and shortlisting for two 2016 Michelmores Property Awards, which showcase and celebrate the very best of the South West’s property and construction industry. The Red House is shortlisted in both the Building of the Year and Project of the Year with a Value Over £7million categories of the Michelmores Property Awards. These shortlists combined demonstrate the national and international attention being generated by Plymouth’s landmark building.

Plymouth School of Creative Arts was founded by Plymouth College of Art in 2013 as a radical new kind of mainstream city centre 3–16 all-through Free School that, together with the college, is establishing a progressive continuum of creative learning and practice from age three to Masters level study and beyond. At the formal opening of The Red House, Sir Nicholas Serota, Director of Tate, hailed the school and creative continuum project as “an event in the history of education in this country.” The Red House was designed by Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios, a group renowned for their inspirational arts and education architectural designs, which include art universities, galleries and exhibition spaces such as the Yorkshire Sculpture Park.

The Red House acts as a site for pedagogical innovation in creative learning and as a catalyst for community regeneration in Plymouth’s Millbay docklands, an area which includes amongst the 10% most deprived neighbourhoods in the country. The building offers agile, open-plan studio spaces rather than traditional classrooms, mirroring the radical pedagogic structure of teaching within the school. These transparent areas are designed to both inspire students and provoke staff to work in new ways.

Creative design solutions and intricate planning by Feilden Clegg Bradley and intense collaboration between the architects, construction company and Plymouth College of Art, led to a cost of only £1,450 per m2, a fraction of the former Building Schools for the Future project costs. Adherence to tight deadlines allowed for partial occupation of the building after only 18 months. These accomplishments were made possible due to the high level of trust that the college placed in Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios’ ability to put its vision of creative education into practice. This trust, which led to the creation of a landmark that acts as a symbol of regeneration to visitors arriving in Plymouth, is the reason that Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios jointly nominated the college and school for the AJ100 Client of the Year award.

The school, which has already been rated Good by Ofsted inspectors, supports the transformation of individual life chances for students and has had an immediate impact on local families, with a range of community groups using the building during evenings and weekends. The distinctive ethos of the school is an art school ethos, an approach where children and staff at the school learn through making in all subject areas, across a broad and balanced school curriculum.

Andy Theobald, Studio Leader at Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios, said: “We are delighted that Plymouth School of Creative Arts has been shortlisted for Building of the Year and that Plymouth School of Creative Arts and Plymouth College of Art are jointly shortlisted for Client of The Year for the AJ100 Awards. The impact of the school on the local and wider arts community, the fact that the school is visible from Plymouth Sound as the beacon of regeneration in Millbay combined with the hugely positive impact it has had on the learning progression of the pupils are the reasons why FCBS have jointly nominated Andrew Brewerton and Dave Strudwick as best clients of the year.

“In a climate of austerity and decreasing investment into the arts, these clients have managed to completely turn around this trend and provide a fantastic arts based educational resource for Plymouth across all ages.”

Last October, Sir Nicholas Serota, Director of Tate formally opened the Red House and applauded those involved in the project: “I want to congratulate Andrew, Dave and the governors of Plymouth College of Art for having the vision and strength to persuade the world that you can make a school that is rooted in imagination, creativity and the arts, and produce students who will be able to face the 21st century and who will bring to it a whole new way of looking at the world.”

Dave Strudwick, Headmaster at Plymouth School of Creative Arts, said: “I couldn’t be happier with the attention that The Red House is generating nationally and am thrilled that Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios nominated us for a Client of the Year award. Given the tight timescales and limited budgets for the project, the stunning learning space that our students now inhabit is a reflection of the skills and expertise of all involved. With this landmark building we’re raising aspirations and providing inspirational spaces for our students, none of which would have been possible without the support of Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios.”

Professor Andrew Brewerton, Principal of Plymouth College of Art and Chair of Governors at Plymouth School of Creative Arts, said: “We had originally envisioned creating the school in Derrys, a disused department store in Plymouth’s historic city precinct. We wanted big, open floor plates, and the school had to be accessible to its community, a walk-in off the high street. For various reasons, this didn’t happen, and so we said okay, if we can’t have Derry’s, then build us a department store that we can occupy as a school. Working with Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios has been a privilege. You rarely find such partnership in a building project, and future generations will use and enjoy the benefit of their sheer intelligence in space planning and fitness for our very distinctive purpose at The Red House.”

Plymouth College of Art first begin working with Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios in 2011, undertaking a master plan for the college’s city centre site which involved developing a long term vision for creative education in Plymouth. This process led to the creation of the college’s Craft, Design and Fabrication Workshops, which housing state-of-the-art facilities including Jewellery studios, Printed Textile Design workshop spaces, Glass-blowing house, Ceramics space, FabLab and a specialist purpose-built, triple-height, north light drawing studio.

Last year the Craft, Design and Fabrication Workshops, which were officially opened by creative visionary Sir John Sorrell, were shortlisted in the Building of the Year Category at the Michelmores Property Awards.


(image: The Red House – Home to Plymouth School of Creative Arts – Photo by Hufton Crow Photography)

(from a press release)



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