Stephen Hawking School
London Borough of Tower Hamlets
1997 and 2006
The single-storey, T-shaped building, with brick external walls which marry with the context of adjacent buildings along Commercial Road, the busy highway on which the school sits.
Inside, the plan makes the building intelligible to the children, many of whom have limited mobility. The hydrotherapy pool creates a ‘buffer zone’ (acoustic separation) between Commercial Road and the main school.
At the heart of the building are the communal spaces: the hall and dining room and a series of free-standing rooms housing practical facilities such as the library and a space for cooking.
Around these wrap the classrooms which hug the perimeter of the building, each with external access. The school gives definition to spaces using rainbow colours which help the children orient themselves around the school. Expressed steel Y-frames and high level glazing illuminate the central spaces.