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Thursday, April 24, 2008

Further Education Design Award, Sunderland, United Kingdom

Multi award-winning North East architects Dewjo’c is celebrating after winning a prestigious national architecture prize at the Further Education Design Awards in the UK
The practice scooped the top award, which recognises outstanding architectural design in the further education sector, for Usworth Sixth Form College, Washington. Dewjo’c beat 14 other entries from throughout England to scoop the title.

The £10million college based in Washington, Sunderland was officially opened last year by Lord Puttnam.

The awards are funded and judged by the Learning and Skills Council (LSC) in association with the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) which set a very high standard against a diverse and demanding set of judging criteria.

Peter Walker, Dewjo’c director received the award and prize at the RIBA LSC conference yesterday.

Peter said: “Dewjo’c is delighted to be recognised at a national level for its design work in the education sector.

“Over the years the practice has built an understanding of the requirements of buildings designed for education purposes. We recognise that well considered design has a huge impact on learning and teaching experiences, but also that every building is different, which is why we apply an individual, creative approach to each new project.

Dewjo’c created a design that floods the interior with natural light, stimulating learning, effective teaching and providing ventilation and a light, airy feel to internal areas.

Wide circulation corridors at each level are topped by a glass roof, creating a light and airy ‘street’ scene on the ground floor. Upper levels have large openings in the floors that allow light to filter to lower levels and through the glass walls of internal rooms. The ‘street’ is landscaped with trees and also houses an ‘open air’ café where staff and students can meet and socialise.

A panel of architectural professionals and representatives from RIBA and LSC visited the site to see for themselves Usworth’s design credentials before awarding it the coveted prize. The design was judged on its innovation, excellence, adaptability, atmosphere and feel-good factor.

In the final, Dewjo’c beat five other colleges, all built in the last two years, including Arcadia Fashion Retail Academy in London, Darlington College, Matthew Boulton College in Birmingham, The Kilburn Centre and the College of North West London.

Usworth Sixth Form College caters for 1,000 students, with the potential for expansion in future years. The building houses a learning resource centre, a computer learning unit and science laboratories.

Dewjo’c was delighted to accept a trophy and £5,000 prize for its win.
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