Described by the former Mayor of London Boris Johnson as ‘a perfectly genius proposal’, the scheme comprises a large two-form entry primary school and nursery on the lower three levels, with a double height void sitting between this and seven storeys of new homes above. This void creates space for a striking multi-use games area and playground.
The initial design by Rock Townsend maximised space and value, but at the same time brought various challenges. Firstly, the services for the homes needed to be diverted away from the school for access and maintenance purposes. This is achieved in part by concealing them in the undulating soffit on the open-level games area and playground. In addition, work on the school was completed ahead of the residential element, creating a complex phasing strategy.
The design provides places for 420 pupils and was informed by numerous workshops with the school which established their design requirements, particularly in terms of the layouts, fixtures and finishes.
The design treatment is led by the context, with a material palette of brick, precast concrete and glazing that make reference to the several neighbouring developments which have recently been built. This site was key to the regeneration of the wider area and contributes to creating a diverse new community in this part of east London.