Text description provided by the architects. The Evelyn Grace Academy in Brixton, London Borough of Lambeth, broadens not only the educational diversity of this active and historical part of London but also augments the built environment in a predominantly residential area. This Academy presents itself as an open, transparent and welcoming addition to the community’s local urban regeneration process. The strategic location of the site within two main residential arteries naturally lends the built form to be coherent in formation. The building assumes a strong urban character and identity which is legible to both the local and neighboring zones.It offers a learning environment that is spatially reassuring thereby being able to engage the students actively. The design of the building to create a healthy atmosphere as a milieu for progressive teaching routines.
Project Team: Lars Teichmann, Matthew Hardcastle, Bidisha Sinha, Henning Hansen, Lisamarie Villegas Ambia, Judith Wahle, Enrico Kleinke, Christine Chow, Guy Taylor, Patrick Bedarf, Sang Hilliges, Hoda Nobakhti
In keeping with the educational ideology of ‘schools-within-schools’ the design creates natural segregation patterns nested within highly functional spaces which give each of the four smaller schools a distinct identity, both internally and externally. These spaces present generous environments with maximum levels of natural light, ventilation and understated but durable textures. The collective spaces shared by all the schools are planned to encourage social communication within a distinct hierarchy of natural aggregation nodes which weave together the extensive accommodation schedule. Similarly, the external shared spaces, in order to generate a setting that encourages interaction, are treated in a manner of layering creating informal social and teaching spaces at various levels based on the convergence of multiple functions.
The middle schools pupils enter directly into each of the two schools from their respective 1st floor terraces. There is no requirement for the middle school pupils to use any of the main stairs (except in an escape condition) thus avoiding interaction with the other schools. Each middle school is spread over 2 floors connected internally by a single central stair. The 2nd floor shared facilities are accessed from the upper level of the middle schools. The ground floor shared facilities are accessed through the external landscape.
The two uppers schools are accessed separately via the end stair cores to the third floor level. Upper School 2 is accessed from its own 1st floor terrace. Upper School 1 is accessed from the southwest corner of the site at ground level. Glazing into the stairs has been maximised for surveillance. The 2nd floor shared facilities can be accessed via the central stair core. The ground floor facilities can be accessed via the most expedient of the three cores. For flexibility of access options, the central core could be used as access for some of the upper school students via the main reception subject to management preference.
Visitors will enter at the main reception and can access any of the schools from the central core. Staff can choose how they wish to enter subject to management preference.
The academy is effectively split between the ground floor podium of shared facilities with the separate schools above. The schools are organised horizontally to minimise vertical circulation once the students are within their individual schools. The middle schools are spread over the 1st and 2nd floors with the uppers schools both occupying the 3rd floor.
Shared facilities that are suited to community out of hours use are located at ground level with some academic shared facilities such as the common halls and science labs located between the schools in the central area on the 2nd & 3rd floor to allow for the flexibility of them to be used either solely by a small school or as shared facilites by more than 1 school, when required.