Capita completes new academy in Middlesex based around a Greek-inspired Agora
The Oasis Academy Enfield is situated on the Innova Park Estate with purpose-built facilities for 1,150 students aged 11-19, including sixth form facilities for 250.
The brief for Oasis academy was not only to provide a high standard of facilities and education, but to ensure that the needs of the local community are met. Oasis Academy Enfield has already made great strides to achieve this, including winning a national award from the Specialist Schools and Academies Trust for innovative methods of unlocking students’ talent.
The architectural concept was to create a distinctive and affirming sense of place. The team aimed to achieve this goal by developing a scheme that connected with the existing landscape whist contributing vibrant new elements to the urban environment.
Accordingly the design approach takes its point of departure from the nature of the site, which is relatively small and flat (with the exception of landscaped bunds to the west and south). These topographical factors, plus the existence of domestic accommodation to the southerly and westerly boundaries, drove the early decisions regarding building massing.
The Academy features coloured strata with bold projecting window frames to enliven the building, as well as a variety of sustainable features including roof mounted wind turbines to provide a source of renewable energy, solar panels for hot water, and rainwater harvesting. There are also ‘Green Pod’ classrooms. These are classrooms constructed on top of one another forming a pod which project from the main building providing definition to the external façade.
Another feature is a 300 sq m ‘Agora’. The 'Agora' – the ancient Greek word for ‘market place’ - is the heart of the school. The three primary circulation routes converge here and form a focal point that looks out to the playground and upwards to the sky, permitting ‘exquisite collisions’, chance meetings and socialising opportunities, as well as the chance to host exhibitions, school assemblies, formal lunches, performances etc.
Paul Healy-Jones, Project Director says: “It is our belief as architects that the creation of an exemplary new school like Oasis Academy Enfield offers the opportunity to make a dramatic contribution to the regeneration of the local community. It became our challenge therefore to provide a learning environment to stimulate, inspire and improve the daily lives of its users and the wider community, with the ultimate objective of improving educational outcomes and providing a community facility which was more than just a place of learning. It has been a privilege and a delight to have played a part in the creation of Oasis Academy Enfield and we are sure that under the visionary stewardship of Oasis Community Learning, these objectives will be met.”