London Borough of Merton
The challenge of the project was to provide the additional capacity in a way that optimized internal area whilst mitigating the effect on external play space. To ensure the needs of students and staff were at the heart of key decisions, the design was developed in close collaboration with senior staff, school governors and parents. This interactive consultation process established a clear and common understanding of the project priorities allowing the project to develop and overcome several challenging issues.
The three-storey extension provides optimum use of the confined site, contributing to the streetscape of Southey Road and providing secure play areas within the courtyard to the rear. The existing hall and new library are positioned where the new and old buildings meet creating a new shared space that welcomes everybody into the school. Classrooms and administration spaces are distributed along a central circulation spine, with classrooms positioned adjacent to external spaces encouraging outside learning activities. All classrooms are bright and spacious with large windows and roof lights to provide optimum levels of daylight.
The school was developed with a passive and sustainable environmental strategy, using natural ventilation to cool and regulate the building structure. By exposing the in-situ concrete on the soffits of the class spaces we were able to take advantage of the thermal mass of the structural frame to help passively cool the building.
Photographs by Simon Kennedy