London-based architectural and design practice John McAslan + Partners’ (JMP) has recently completed the Oasis Academy Hadley in Enfield, London – a specialist Maths, ICT and Music school – which was designed to be highly sustainable. Located on a former industrial site, the project sits at the heart of a wider urban regeneration plan for the Ponders End and South Street area of Enfield.
This ambitious scheme delivers a vibrant new learning campus for the Academy’s primary, secondary and sixth-form students and will also play a pivotal role as a new community hub, with a range of cultural and sports activities available outside school hours. The school’s front facade addresses a new plaza, the intention being that this will be an animated civic space hosting markets, fêtes and community activities throughout the year.
Hannah Lawson, Project Director, comments: “Our design provides a clear, rational and legible arrangement of accommodation across the site. Four blocks of accommodation are arranged in a ‘pin-wheel’ configuration around a central ‘Agora’ which forms the ‘heart’ of the academy. This arrangement allows the building to respond to the local context and key urban issues whilst addressing the principal objectives of the education brief.”
The Agora can be used for dining, assemblies, performance spaces and informal teaching; communal facilities such as the Library, ICT space, House Bases, Dining area, Kitchen and Drama studio are all accessed from this central space, creating a vibrant hub for academy activities. The configuration of the blocks and the central Agora, in particular the sightlines to the faculty entrances and to the external landscape, allow users to orientate themselves across the site.
The scheme incorporates a number of sustainable features which will significantly reduce the school’s carbon footprint, as well as generate renewable energy, the intention being to achieve a minimum of 20% generation from renewable energy on the site. These features include roof-mounted solar thermal and photovoltaic panels, a heating plant configured to allow future connection to a combined heat and power plant (CHP), heat pumps and batteries and solar control glass.
The solar thermal panels pre-heat the domestic hot water system, which in summer the system will serve the majority of the school’s requirements. The proposed community use of the facilities makes this technology more beneficial than closing the school during the summer months when the sun is of most use.
The photovoltaic panels, meanwhile, will feed electricity into the main board of the building, which is designed to be a net exporter of electricity during holiday periods and at weekends.
The orientation of the building has specifically sought to ensure all major external play areas are south facing, including a rooftop terrace which will integrate a shading structure. These moves ensure a series of highly usable and climatically controlled spaces for the staff and students.