Curvaceous new school wins top design award

Winner Victory Primary School in Paulsgrove
Winner Victory Primary School in Paulsgrove
Picture: Malcolm Wells

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ITS curvy wall gives it a unique style.

And now it’s won a prestigious award for the Victory Primary School in Allaway Avenue, Paulsgrove.

Cllr Paula Riches with local children at Somers Town Adventure Playground which won the Best Landscaping award

Cllr Paula Riches with local children at Somers Town Adventure Playground which won the Best Landscaping award

The school has taken first place in the Portsmouth Society’s annual design awards.

Combining the old Westfield Junior and Saxon Shore Infant schools, Victory opened its doors in November last year.

The judges, architects Jane Green and Michael Underwood, conservation officer Ben Cracknell and society president Celia Clark, unanimously chose the school as Best New Building in the city for 2011. It was designed by Portsmouth City Council architect Chris Greed.

Mrs Clark said: ‘This is an excellent and enjoyable response to a long, narrow site bounded by the M27 and the south coast railway line.

‘The school’s curved brick north wall gives it security from the street, while the informal wood-clad classrooms and break-out areas for 450 children open off a meandering central corridor that belies its length.

‘Daylight floods into it from the doors to the courtyards for each age group. There are small, child-height windows on the south side so the classrooms do not get too hot.’

Commended in the Best New Building category were the University of Portsmouth’s William Beatty Building (dental academy) by MH Architects; the Bristow-Clavell science centre at Portsmouth Grammar School by Harrington Design, and a new house at 101 St Thomas’s Street, Old Portsmouth, by architects Etchingham Morris. The Best Reuse Award went to the innovative new church hall inside the Church of the Holy Spirit in Fawcett Road, Southsea.

Architect Tim Sage inserted a single-storey new hall, kitchen and meeting rooms into the west end of the church.

Commended in this category was the city council’s Asset Management Group which took two awards for the repair of the Guildhall’s clock tower and refurbishment of the bells.

Best Landscaping Award went to Somers Town adventure playground in Waterloo Street, designed by Antje Eisfelder with project architect Marcelle Newbold of the Design Group at Portsmouth City Council.

Commended in the landscaping category was the sculpture of St John by Philip Jackson in front of St John’s Roman Catholic cathedral.

Mrs Clark said: ‘The recession and local authority spending cuts do not appear to have dampened people’s enthusiasm to enhance Portsmouth with good design – in new buildings, reuses of buildings and landscaping.’

The Portsmouth Society is a voluntary organisation which helps preserve the best of the city’s buildings, streets, open spaces and seashore, and encourages well-designed new buildings and amenities.