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National architecture award for Drapers’ Academy

The £22m Drapers’ Academy building in Romford, designed by Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios with significant design input from Queen Mary University of London (QMUL), has received a National Award from the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA).

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© The Drapers' Academy
© The Drapers' Academy

RIBA National Awards are the most rigorously-judged awards for architectural excellence and are given to buildings which set the standard for good architecture and “exceed the client’s expectation” (RIBA). Just 56 prizes are awarded each year- 44 in the UK and 12 elsewhere in the EU.

The Drapers’ Academy – which received a London Award from RIBA in May - is co-sponsored by QMUL in a partnership that supports the educational vision of the Academy through the development of additional and innovative learning materials and activities, collaborative teaching and events.
Professor Morag Shiach, QMUL’s Vice Principal (Humanities and Social Sciences) serves as Vice-Chair of the Academy’s Governing Body and chairs the Education Committee, on which Professor Mike Watkinson from the School of Biological and Chemical Sciences also sits.

QMUL was closely involved in the development of the design for Drapers’ Academy, particularly the design of spaces for science teaching, and worked with the architects for over a year to ensure that the building was aligned to key priorities in its education vision.

RIBA explains: “This school is a beautiful and accomplished piece of architecture. It has a very clear, rational plan, which creates an unusual sense of calm, while also fulfilling the client's brief in its curriculum organisation, with open access to science and maths at the heart of the school.”

RIBA also highlights the building’s “excellent sustainability credentials”: Daylight is optimised, the thermal mass of the building is exploited and the building is naturally ventilated, with the facility for night cooling. Ground source heat pumps act as the main heat source for both the heating and domestic hot water.  Photovoltaic panels provide supplementary electricity to the building reducing the amount of grid supplied electricity required for both the heating and the small power.”

For more information about the Drapers’ Academy, visit or

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