Keeping it all in-house

Monday 07 Mar 2011

ASTUDIO's new school in London's Tower Hamlets combines centres of excellence into one facility

St Paul's Way Trust School is a landmark new secondary school in the London Borough of Tower Hamlets, which knits together a diverse community in East London. The school has been designed to be engaging and uplifting for those using the new building and school grounds. It is a welcoming 21st century building which acts as a focus for the surrounding community, providing a landmark building within the locality. The school includes an unprecedented level of public functions carefully stitched together to provide security to users, but offers a grand scale civic facility to the neighbourhood.

The school allows public use at ground floor level to a library, sports complex and theatre. Clever internal planning allows both pupils and the community to benefit from these functions being in one facility.
The school is designed over three floors offering a range of learning spaces from standard classrooms to corridor free spaces encouraging passive supervision. A series of ‘houses' provide successive centres
of excellence, by providing dynamic social and educational spaces which create an exciting experience as one moves through the school. Large sliding doors allow the open spaces to be changed to allow different teaching styles. Each house also benefits from a cinema style projection system that allows lessons to be beamed in from around the world offering a new and exciting experience to the pupils.

Within each ‘house' sits a feature classroom, where the school can demonstrate its best working practices and exhibit the work produced - turning the whole school into a gallery of achievements. The internal galleried design means that many of the central spaces can offer enormous potential in addressing the whole school community at once.
The teaching and learning spaces have been designed as a family of different size rooms to give maximum choice to the users and the capability to choose the most appropriate spaces for each activity. To enable this approach subjects have been removed from the rooms and given freedom to the teachers in how they timetable each of the spaces. This approach ensures the pupils will always be engaged in their activities openly.

The design offers exemplary sustainability credentials and is BREEAM excellent rated and has an expected annual consumption of 22kgCO2 m².

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