ofFresh from her triumph at the RIBA Stirling Prize, Zaha Hadid has released stunning imagery of the Evelyn Grace Academy - her first completed project in England. The sprawling concrete mass has been designed in collaboration with ARK Schools, an organisation created in 2004 to bridge the academic gap between students living in disadvantaged areas and those with more affluent backgrounds.
Organisation within the school is arranged horizontally, with the 1,200 pupils separated into four sub-schools - Evelyn Middle, Grace Middle, Evelyn Upper and Grace Upper. Students in the two middle schools enter the building via first floor terraces, avoiding any interaction with the upper schools, the students of which access the building using end stair cores. Each middle school is spread over two floors connected internally by a single central stair. An additional first floor terrace also provides access for upper school students.
Each of the four ‘schools within schools' has been given a distinct identity both internally and externally and all have been designed with maximum levels of natural light and ventilation. Many elements of the new academy have been opened to the local community out of school hours; located on the ground floor, these include science labs, common halls and sports facilities such as a dance studio and fitness suite.
Commenting on the recent completion, Zaha Hadid explained: "It is very significant that our first project in London is the Evelyn Grace Academy. Schools are among the first examples of architecture that everyone experiences and have a profound impact on all children as they grow up. I am delighted that the Evelyn Grace Academy has been so well received by all its students and staff."