Islington, London, UK
Transformation of an existing 1960s secondary school into a new facility for 850 pupils in a fit-for-learning, 21st century environment, integrating it with an existing, refurbished Victorian primary school for pupils with severe special needs to share social and learning experiences
The three-storey new academy building responds sympathetically to the context and scale of surrounding terrace houses.
The retained Victorian building has been extended around a newly formed central space and a sports hall is open to the community outside of school hours.
Learning spaces are organised around the two storey internal ‘market place’ that acts as the heart of the academy, a concept which symbolises the education ethos. Adaptability was a key requirement, so the market place is a central multipurpose learning and assembly area, which can be opened to an adjacent drama hall, and beyond to an external courtyard.
Transparency and visual connectivity are achieved by wrapping the circulation which feeds a combination of closed and open plan teaching spaces around this space which has good quality natural light and ventilation via roof lights, and care was taken in the choice of surface materials to ensure appropriate acoustic qualities to inspire and enhance the learning environment.
We added value to the process by leading the stakeholder engagement process, designing the architecture and interiors as a single service and coordinating with the client’s appointed FF&E specialist. We also worked closely with the partnering contractor to integrate the supply chain capability at an early stage after town planning.
Protection of existing trees and the provision of green roofs, which also attenuate rainwater run-off to ease pressure on the local wastewater system, help achieve biodiversity targets while 20% renewable energy is generated through the use of photovoltaic cells and a wood-pellet biomass boiler.
Natural light and natural ventilation have been provided to the majority of areas in the building.
The academy achieved a BREEAM ‘Excellent’ rating as well as a 20% renewable energy target. Sustainable construction was a key consideration in material selection with off-site fabrication used to reduce to waste and packaging