Michael Faraday Community School Southwark, Education Architecture, Image, News

Michael Faraday School

Key New Educational Building in south London design by SMC Alsop, England, UK

3 Sep 2008

Michael Faraday Community School London

Planning Secured For Alsop’s Michael Faraday Community School Marks Important Milestone For Aylesbury Estate Regeneration

Planning permission has just been granted by Southwark Council for the SMC Alsop designed Michael Faraday Community School – the first primary school to be transformed under the Southwark Schools for the Future programme. Replacing the existing cramped and inflexible 1970s buildings located at the centre of the Aylesbury estate, the new Michael Faraday School is a flagship project for the regeneration of the estate, the largest social housing complex in Europe.

Michael Faraday Community School Michael Faraday Community School London

Councillor Lisa Rajan, Southwark Council’s executive member for children’s services and education, said: “Southwark Council is committed to placing education for all at the heart of the Aylesbury regeneration project. Michael Faraday provides an outstanding education for local children and young people, and this redevelopment will make it an even better school for our young children and learning environment for the whole community.

Working closely with the architects, school and community representatives, we are committed to creating a cutting edge building that will be seen nationally as an exemplary model for community engagement, offering best practice at all levels.”

Following an extensive consultation process with the head teacher, staff and pupils at the existing school and the Aylesbury New Deal for Communities who are partly funding the project, SMC Alsop has created an innovative school design that takes the form of a distinctive circular building.

Will Alsop said of the project: “It is a true delight to be working in Southwark again, and particularly on a school. Schools prepare our young people for life and we have found a very lively group of staff and pupils who have contributed to the evolution of the design. The design process is part of the curriculum, which brings the school closer to the world of work.

The school will be an amalgam of spaces that will be both flexible and yet particular enough to give a sense of identity. The external appearance of the building is recognised as being important for all the pre-school children living in the area and will represent a place of intrigue, curiosity and delight which represents a place that they will spend a lot of time in the future. I applaud the Borough of Southwark in its continuing commitment to new and quality design.”

The new school will provide nursery, primary school, adult education and community facilities in 3021 sqm (gross internal floor area) over two floors. It features open-plan learning spaces, flexible and adaptable classrooms that are capable of supporting a range of teaching and learning styles, and covered external spaces for outdoor learning.

In the circular main building teaching space is arranged as a ring of cellular accommodation around the ‘Living Room’ – a large open-plan flexible learning environment. A continuous external balcony provides external teaching spaces to the upper classrooms and also provides cover to the outdoor learning spaces at ground level.

To achieve maximum adaptability the design works with the building’s structural and façade grid to create classrooms that can be subdivided and partitions that can be taken down and relocated. Adjacent to the ‘Living Room’, an enclosed area, ‘The Rock’, designed for performance and presentation has been created to allow noisy activity to take place without disrupting activity in the Living Room. Administration and adult learning are clustered around the main entrance.

The main building is linked by a canopy to a smaller stand-alone pavilion, ‘The Ballroom’, which contains the school’s dining and main hall facilities and is available for community use.

The main building will create a strong visual impact by virtue of its coloured facade and balcony cladding of black and white vertical fins. In contrast to the colourful main building, the Ballroom pavilion is clad in silver metal panels. Inspired by period ballrooms, a finer decorative metal relief breaks up the mass to create an attractive and distinctive façade.

The school grounds will be extensively landscaped providing hard and soft play areas together with growing gardens, natural habitat and a ‘Dry River Bed’. A new Multi-Use Games Area (MUGA) will be shared with the local community and bore holes beneath the pitch will form the Ground Source Heat Pump that contributes to the building achieving a predicted 20% carbon reduction and BREEAM ‘very good’ rating.

Project Director, Jonathan Leah said “It is a privilege to be working on a project where we know that our contribution and that of the rest of the project team will make a major difference to the lives of so many of the children and families living on the Aylesbury Estate. It has been a challenge and a rewarding experience to date and would not have been possible without the dedication of the head teacher and her team who have quite rightly demanded the best all the way through the design process including the initial RIBA competition.”

SMC Alsop was appointed to design the new Michael Faraday Community School following an open design competition in 2007. The project continues SMC Alsop’s long-standing and highly successful relationship with Southwark. The practice has previously contributed to the borough’s evolving, dynamic landscape through the completion of the Stirling prize winning Peckham library in 1999, developments in Peckham square and the Palestra building opposite the new Southwark tube station.

The project is due to start on site in 2009 and is due for completion in 2010.

Address: Michael Faraday Community School, Portland Street, London SE17 2HR

Contact Michael Faraday Community School: 020 7703 5806

Michael Faraday Community School Southwark – Project Team

Client: London Borough of Southwark
Architects: SMC Alsop
Structural and Services Engineers: Buro Happold
Landscape Architects: The Landscape Partnership
CDM Coordinator: Turner & Townsend Management Solutions
Acoustic Consultant: Cole Jarman Associates Ltd
Flood Risk Assessment: Scott Wilson

Page on the completed school building:

Michael Faraday Community School
Alsop Sparch, Architects
Michael Faraday Community School
photograph : Morley von Sternberg
Michael Faraday Community School

Michael Faraday Community School Southwark images / information from Stratton & Reekie 030908

Location: Portland Street, London SE17 2HR

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