School Project Vision

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					School / Project Vision How does the project fit with the future direction of the school / local regeneration? Kings Avenue School is one of three new landmark primary schools commissioned as part of Lambeth's ‘Action for Education’ primary school development strategy which, in the face of diminishing child populations, has resulted in the rationalization of a number of schools to fund four new ones. One of the objectives of the project was to create a new attractive and inspiring identity for the new school, and this has been done by changing the circulation pattern, adding new extensions where previously there were blank walls looking onto the street, and remodeling existing elevations, entrance and landscape. The school is a ‘centre of excellence’ for visually impaired children, and generally a very inclusive school. This is very much the vision of the Headteacher and Senior Management Team. This project improves daylight levels significantly and uses a system of bright colours to provide orientation which everybody benefits from. All ground-floor classrooms open onto outdoor teaching rooms, reaching out to the landscaped play and activity areas which provide teaching and community resources including trails, performance space, sports pitches (one floodlit) and a changing block. The remodeling of the external spaces and the addition of a lift has allowed wheelchair access to all areas. Project Background See above. The LEA had high aspirations for the new school, which was formed by combining three existing schools which had previously suffered from under achievement. School Background Where is the school located? Kings Avenue Primary School, Kings Avenue, LONDON SW4 8BQ What were the schools strengths and weaknesses? See above Building Challenges The previous Kings Acre school accommodation, an LCC system built school built in 1958, consisted of two flat-roofed buildings set back from Kings Avenue – one single and one two-storey classroom block, with a linear linking block containing the main entrance from King's Avenue. Apart from problems with the building fabric, including high alumina cement, corroded pipework, and a history of lack of maintenance, the general quality of the environment was very poor, it was hard to understand how the school was laid out, the external areas were banal and the first impression of the school was uninspiring, and made you feel tired and disheartened.

School Name: Kings Avenue Primary School Design Team: Architect, Planning Supervisor, Landscape Architect: Shepheard Epstein Hunter Client: London Borough of Lambeth(Lambeth Education) Cost: £4m Funding Body: Department for Education & Skills,London Borough of Lambeth Timescale: End 1999-2003 Key Phrases: Author's Website:

Process We worked with the school and the LEA through a Design Implementation Group made up of teachers, governors, and LEA officers. This involved outgoing, interim and new governing bodies, as well as an incoming head teacher and management team. We recorded all the points that had been made so that there was little abortive work or loss of momentum, while still allowing the final management team scope for tailoring the design to their own particular vision of the school. We used the project as a teaching vehicle f through classroom workshops, although not as much as we would have liked. We set up the idea of the ‘ideal classroom’ so that we could discuss and agree a set of principles which could then be applied to all classrooms covering furniture & equipment layout, provision for special equipment for children with special needs, floor coverings, whiteboards etc. Before closing for reconstruction meetings were held to explain the proposals and the temporary re-housing of the school to parents and pupils. The landscape works came after the main refurbishment and the design was developed by working closely with the school’s senior management team. Solutions From the CABE digital library: The new extensions have an interesting external expression, greatly enhance the campus and are well sited for maximum impact. The design appears to engender enjoyment and pride from staff, children and parents. A stylish new frontage masks the older buildings behind, and visitors are drawn in from the main gate, through an inviting entrance courtyard with a mature tree, into a pleasant reception area which joins the two teaching blocks and forms the heart of the school. A covered dropping off point for people needing special assistance has its own entrance at the northeast corner of the site. Several rooms such as the Library and IT room can be used by the local community with controlled access. The internal colour coding schemes are bright and striking and give a sense of location in what is otherwise not a simple pattern of circulation. The school has been cabled for future flexible IT communications, has good insulation and efficient heating, and is designed for minimal maintenance, using recycled, renewable and natural materials where possible. The galvanised elements and stainless steel roofs should, with the aluminium windows, require no further treatment Extensive re-modelling of the outside play areas enrich children's playtime and act as an additional teaching resource. Testimony from governors indicates that the school has been very

well received: ‘the building design is uplifting, and children, staff and parents have all responded well’.

Outcomes The new school provides lifelong learning facilities and resources for the local community including landscaped play and activity areas, trails, performance space, sports pitches (one floodlit) and a changing block. The scheme has been awarded a 2004 Civic Trust Award. These are given to projects that bring a notable social, cultural or economic benefit to their communities. Designated as a ‘centre of excellence’ for visually impaired children, the redrawn building assists these in an arresting fashion by drawing in daylight and using bright colours to provide orientation without stigma, exemplified by bright yellow classroom doors externally and a colour code internally. A bright colour coding system gives all, particularly the visually impaired, a sense of location, with a continuous stripe in the studded rubber corridor flooring helping them find their way. Corridors gain daylight from courtyards and roof-lights plus large windows and clerestories beneath raised ceilings, and lowlevel windows offer glimpses of the grounds. Sustainability measures were incorporated in several areas, maximising natural daylight and ventilation and incorporating shading measures to reduce heat gain and excess of light. The inclusion of oak boarding, plus galvanised steel columns, framework and roof contributes to low maintenance in the new building. Extensions have natural oak cladding, projecting timber solar shading and galvanized steel balustrades. Zinc ‘windcatcher’ chimneys on the steel standing-seam monopitch roofs aid natural ventilation in new classrooms, which have underfloor heating. Refurbished areas have mainly conventional radiators and opening windows. Artificial lighting responds to daylight levels and is centrally controlled. The positive reaction to the new school can be illustrated by what people have said: ‘The feedback that I received from the visitors was fantastic. They all remarked on the enthusiasm and the positive attitude and dynamism of the staff. Many said that the design reflected a "love" for the pupils and a very caring attitude to their experience of education.’ Kevin Donnelly – Head of Asset Management Lambeth Education after visit by the delegates to the Designing Education Buildings for the 21st Century Conference. ‘We are very proud of our school and appreciate how much of our success is down to [the architectural transformation] Graham Warr, Assistant Head Teacher March 2003 ‘The building design is uplifting, and children, staff and parents have

all responded well; feedback from all the parents has been positive and enthusiastic’ Governors report on the school, November 2003. Said at a meeting in November + school opening in December ‘I was so impressed with the design, as a visually impaired person I really felt t ease in the school’s surroundings’ Alan Wetherly, Development Officer for visually impaired, London Sports Form for Disabled People quoted in Open House Exemplar: Learning by Design September 2005 ‘It is light and colourful and makes you feel good!’ year 6 pupil quoted in Open House Exemplar: Learning by Design September 2005 Learning

Is there any learning from the project you would like to share? - there are no ‘right’ ways of doing things - the people managing the school will have a view of how things should be done which won’t necessarily be similar to the view of a different management team in the same situation - it is important to take the school community, including neighbours, along with you, and find ways of engaging with them from the outset. - Daylight, clear organisation and circulation which is more than just a corridor is really important


				
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Description: School Project Vision