Hackney school glorified at ACE awards

15 May 2009

BDP design celebrated as life altering school

Bridge Academy, in one of London's notoriously underprivileged boroughs, reined triumphant this week at the ACE (Association for Consultancy and Engineering) Engineering Excellence Awards held in London on Wednesday. The awards showcase consultancy and engineering firms who demonstrate a high degree of achievement, value and engineering excellence.

BDP picked up the winner’s trophy for the Building Structures (Large Firm) category, beating Buro Happold, Pell Frischmann, Scott Wilson and WYG Engineering to the title. Performing architecture, environmental engineering, structural engineering and landscaping services for the school which completed in 2008, BDP have achieved the near impossible in changing teenage attitudes to education.

"During our first year many visitors remarked on students’ politeness, loyalty to the Academy and strong work ethic. They also commented on how smart students looked in their uniforms. Students who attend are very proud of the Academy and positive about learning," said Bridge Academy's Chair of Governors, Jeremy Palmer.

Bridge Academy’s seven storey structure fits 15,500 sq m of learning and recreational space into a tight 6,000 sq m inner city site set along the Regent’s Canal in the London Borough of Hackney. The inspirational structure is designed to eliminate anti-social behaviour prevalent in traditional school corridors, with a sweeping steel arch at the heart of the academy which creates a column free flexible space.

The design for 1150 students and 100 staff, creates a focus for the regeneration of a neglected inner city area. Responding to the opportunities of this constrained brownfield water-side site the innovative vertical Academy creates a compact school shaped around a multi-level ‘heartspace’, maximising social interaction and minimising poor behaviour. The design displaces ground upwards taking advantage of magnificent roofspaces for performance, learning and play.

On receiving the award Oliver Plunkett, BDP structural and civil engineering director said: “I’m thrilled that a project that does so much to enhance the area and create a stimulating learning environment for local children has been recognised, both for the creative design approach of the interdisciplinary BDP team to the significant site challenges and the dedication of the contractor’s team in realising the design."

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