School Awarded Prestigious Architecture Prize

The Five Islands School

The new Five Islands School on St Mary’s has won a prestigious South West architecture prize.

The school gained the top award in the category for Best New Building over £3million at the Michelmores Western Morning News Property Awards in Exeter on Tuesday night. The design fought of stiff competition from buildings in Brixham, Paignton and Plymouth.

Former Conservative minister, Michael Portillo, presented the prize.

Collecting the award on behalf of the project board were the Chairman of the School Project Board, Philip Hygate, Tony Pollintine from Grainge Architects, who designed the new building and David Snell, from construction company Kier,

Tony said he was delighted to win the award and he thinks it was a combination of factors that won the judges over, including the green credentials of the building and the challenges involved in construction on a site of special scientific interest.

He says the Five Islands School is very unusual, being a ‘through school’ with ages from reception class through to year 11. The school was also designed to be a hub for community activities for adults as well as children, with the adjacent Queen Elizabeth II Sports Hall and Lifelong Learning hub.

Tony says it’s been on of his most enjoyable projects and he even stayed with families on the off-islands during the design phase so he could understand the challenges involved in getting to school on St Mary’s

The cloister at the Five Islands School

He’s pleased with the way the building fits in well with the site and other buildings on the island but said that wasn’t easy to achieve. Many parts of the structure had to be built on the mainland and shipped over, which could have given the final project a very disjointed feel.

And he says this is the first time he’s worked on a project where the total weight of the school had to be calculated up front, down to the last nail and bag of cement, so they could work out the freight costs.

Headteacher of the Five Islands School, Bryce Wilby, says he’s delighted with the award which he feels the architects richly deserve.

Bryce says the architects understood his vision for a school built around a cloister and he’s proud they followed his suggestions for the vibrant use of colours in the new school.

Philip Hygate, who was at the award ceremony, said the new building is the fruition of a long held dream of islanders to have modern, fit for purpose facilities for the education of its young people. “It is a great tribute to see the hard work of all those involved praised with such a prestigious award,” he said.

Mike Hicks, Chairman of the Council, added that the award, “underlines what we all feel on the islands, that we have a school building to be proud of. I hope the children, parents and staff enjoy the benefits this new building offers our children for many years to come.”