THE Oxford Academy is celebrating winning a major award for its new £33m home in Littlemore.

The school, which welcomed pupils to the state-of-the-art building in Sandy Lane West last year, was among the winners announced at the Oxford Preservation Trust Awards at St John’s College, Oxford.

The school lifted its award in the New Buildings section. The judges, praising the work of the school’s architects White Design Associates, said: “Built on the site of the former Peers School at Littlemore, these new school buildings exude an air of confidence, which is already having a positive influence on students and staff.

“The site is shared with Mable Pritchard House and has become a popular local community resource.”

Academy principal Mike Reading said: “It was great for Oxford to recognise what’s happening in the south of the city where 80 per cent of the children come from 20 per cent of the most deprived wards in the country.”

The other new Oxford building to receive an award was the Shulman Auditorium at The Queen’s College in High Street.

The work of Oxford-based architects Berman Guedes Stretton and the contractors Kingerlee was praised for the way that it incorporated historic features within the design of a modern building.

Head bursar Linda Irving Bell said: “It is vitally important to The Queen’s College that any building work we undertake is very sensitive to our environment and enhances our heritage for current and future generations.

“We felt that this was achieved by Berman Guedes Stretton’s stunning design for our Shulman Auditorium, which is now in constant use for a wide variety of cultural and educational events.”

Oxford City Council received an award for the restoration and refurbishment of the Old Fire Station, which this week celebrated its first anniversary as centre promoting the arts and helping the homeless.

Over the past year, Arts at the Old Fire Station in George Street has packed in 68 shows, five festivals, more than 25 different kinds of regular classes and involved 192 artists in 16 gallery exhibitions. More than 26,500 people have gone through its doors.

The architect and project manager, Jonathan Clements, from Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios, said: “The vision was to create a unique, dynamic and inspirational centre for creativity, skills development and enterprise that the community could be proud of. It was a very unique project, bringing together a homeless facility and an arts company. We aimed to celebrate the history of the building as part of the architecture.”

Also honoured with awards were:

  • The refurbished Abingdon County Hall Museum won a building conservation Award. The town’s iconic museum reopened in the summer after a £3.5m facelift. The 17th century museum, in the Old County Hall building in Market Place, was closed from October 2010 for the work.
  • The restoration of another Oxford landmark the Carfax Conduit in Nuneham Park, owned by Oxford University, received the third building conservation award.
  • The Small Projects award went to Oxford Church of England Diocese for the conservation of Salviati Mosaic in Elsfield Church. Situated behind the altar, the mosaics were created by the Italian Antonio Salviati (1816-1890), the founder of a glass making and mosaic company based at Murano near Venice, who installed mosaics in a number of churches and cathedrals in Great Britain.
  • For the second year the trust made a special award for a community project. The award, sponsored by Minns Estates, and a £500 prize went to the South Oxford Adventure Playground. Oxford’s only playground for seven- to 15-year-olds is run by volunteers.
  • lThe schemes to win certificates were the New Galleries of Ancient Egypt and Sudan at The Ashmolean Museum; Christ Church Cathedral School for repair work to 1 Brewer Street, Oxford; the urban regeneration at 1 and 2 Walton Lane; the extension to Northern House School, South Parade; the refurbishment of Juxon House, Juxon Street; the new West gallery and free standing helical stair in the church of St Philip and St James, Woodstock Road; the Cothill Fen Enhancement Project; and the Oxclean campaign for its community work.