SKARCHITECTS LTD amongst 7 Architects shortlisted for Stephen Lawrence Prize 2018


The RIBA has announced the shortlist for the Stephen Lawrence Prize, with this year marking its’ twenty-first anniversary. Seven projects have been shortlisted, including woodland classrooms for a school, a touching memorial to 173 people who died in Bethnal Green Tube station during the war and White Heather House by SKARCHITECTS LTD - a hostel for vulnerable homeless women.

The winner of the 2018 Stephen Lawrence Prize will be announced at the RIBA Stirling Prize party on 10 October at the Roundhouse in Camden, London.

The prize was set up in memory of the teenager who was on the road to becoming an architect when he was tragically murdered in 1993. Supported and founded by the Marco Goldschmied Foundation, it is intended to encourage fresh architecture talent and reward the best examples of projects that have a construction budget of less than £1 million.

White Heather House - Jury report

This is a wonderful example of where the architect, Steve Kearney, would just not let a project fail. He formed his own construction company, overcoming early setbacks, to deliver the project to a tight budget and timescale. This is a project that is really changing lives, providing inspiring emergency homes for vulnerable women in the “red light” district of Southend. The layout of the new three blocks around a central space solved the problem of a very restricted site. It creates an appropriately sheltered, private and secure environment for residents who draw support from each other and want to distance themselves from the outside world. The buildings (and the reclaimed garden sheds) are colourful, simply built and carefully placed to maximise the sense of space (there is even a quiet outside space for the staff) on a left-over piece of urban back lot. The building process was complicated too, necessitating bringing materials on to site by hand on occasion. This sort of project makes us all proud to be architects. Harp is a worthy RIBA East Client of the Year, providing much-needed sanctuary for women who are made homeless in Southend. They had clearly worked hand in hand with Kearney, to make every bit of space on a difficult site work hard and make every piece of building material earn its keep. The residents draw great comfort from living together, sharing meals and activities, and exchanging life stories in what feels like an extended family home ‘.

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