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Black Cultural Archives named Building of the Year

WINNING DESIGN: The Black Cultural Archives

LESS THAN a year after reopening its doors following a multi-million pound revamp, Brixton’s Black Cultural Archives (BCA) has been named ‘Building of the Year’.

The newly-refurbished venue, which won the accolade at this year’s New London Awards, is the product of architect company Pringle Richards Sharratt and sits permanently in the heart of Brixton in Windrush Square.

Founded in 1981, the BCA was established to redress the historical imbalance of the representation of black people in Britain.

The archive was rebuilt with a £4 million grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund and through a partnership with Lambeth council and now features an extended limestone wing.

The total cost was £7 million and the project was also given £1.2 million by the London mayor's office and further donations from other organisations including Bloomberg and Lambeth council.

The building features a meeting space, café, gallery, a library with over 6000 books and independently published literature and most important of all is home to the only thorough archives of African and Caribbean decedents in the UK.

Amongst its archives include a small silver coin dating back to 208 AD that features the black Roman emperor Septimus Severus and a back catalogue of black lifestyle magazines from the 1970s.

Other winners at the annual awards, from New London Architecture, which celebrate the best recently completed or under construction projects in the capital included We Made That, Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios and Haworth Tompkins.

Patrons of the BCA include actor Idris Elba, Labour MP Chuka Umunna and Dame Jocelyn Barrow, who was one of the founding members and later became the first black female governor of the BBC.

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