Henley Halebrown Completes Hackney School and Housing Program


Located across from Hackney New School, an earlier project also completed by Henley Halebrown in 2013, the Shoreditch-based firm’s latest project is a mixed-use primary school and housing project in the Kingsland Road Conservation Area in Hackney.

Hackney New Primary School, founded in 2015, accommodates 350 students, while the adjacent 11-story building has 68 apartments with shops on the ground floor.

The project merges two types of buildings – the courtyard or the cloistered school and a residential island – to free up space for the school.

The school, which is set around a hidden interior courtyard lined with ivory-finished glazed bricks and sheltered by zinc and glazed canopies reminiscent of the Woodland cemetery of Gunnar Asplund in Sweden, enjoys good daylight while at the same time providing an acoustic buffer to east London traffic Kingsland Road.

The layout of the school spaces around the site allows for the largest possible play area. The exterior circulation takes the form of covered galleries and a play area on the roof, creating a direct relationship between the interior and the exterior.

Classrooms, music rooms, main hall and administrative spaces also face inward, towards the courtyard, with twin classrooms so that a year group can be taught alongside another in the two overlapping spaces.

The meeting room opens onto a quieter street next to the school entrance.

Designed in collaboration with artist Paul Morrison, the entrance gates to the school represent a spider’s web and a dandelion, marking the threshold between the world of adults and that of children. A concrete bench runs along the southern facade of the school, creating a space where parents can wait for their children at the end of the day.

The residential tower, intended to house the charity Dolphin Living, is located at the southeast corner of the site. The masonry structure consists of twin floors with loggias carved in the mass of the masonry. A two-story strip goes around the base of the building.

At the top of the tower, an open colonnade is topped with a prefabricated entablature. Through it the sky and the terraces of the penthouse can be seen.

The scheme consists mostly of red bricks with columns, beams, cords and parapets made of dark red precast concrete, the color created from red sandstone aggregates.

Henley halebrown planning won for East London Primary School and an 11-story apartment building in January 2017.

Architect’s view

Schools are organizations, but they are also social infrastructures. The way they are planned, designed and programmed shapes the interactions that develop in and around them, ”says Eric Klinenberg, professor of sociology at New York University. “For students, teachers, parents and entire communities, schools can foster or hinder trust, solidarity and a shared commitment to the common good. They can also set limits that define who is in the community and who is excluded. They can fit in or separate, create opportunities or keep people in their place. ‘ These words, taken from Klinenberg’s book Palaces for the people, how to build a more egalitarian and united society (2018), remind us that buildings do much more than function. And for a school, there is more at stake than the education of a child.

So when we talk about a school and how it works, we need to look beyond teaching and learning to find out how space shapes interaction and thus evokes moments that facilitate association and friendship. As Klinenberg explains, “schools are our agoras, bringing together places where we make ourselves and recreate and develop a sense of belonging. ‘

At Hackney New Primary School, these ideas are manifested in the configuration of the school around a courtyard – literally the Klinenberg Agora – and the walls and thresholds that line that courtyard and the sidewalks outside it. ‘school.

The party substitutes internal corridors for the open galleries that wrap around the courtyard. The stairs are also exterior and covered so that the movement is visible and sociable. The glazed brick walls that border the courtyard are sheltered by canopies. Below, the thick walls are made up of a variety of different sized windows and doors. Passing in front of a classroom, a low threshold offers a passing student a window onto this world. Another deep window, with a high sill, incorporates a bench adjacent to each classroom door. Indeed, each classroom is assigned a “storefront” overlooking the courtyard. Something the youngest host students take literally. The classroom door incorporates a shutter at the end of the day, allowing the teacher to welcome parents into the classroom without losing a child who might otherwise escape through the door.

On the street, the school hall opens onto the quieter street next to the school entrance. Windows separate levels of one-story brick panels resting on concrete ropes. The hall is lit by a series of skeleton windows on the first floor. As a result, the ground floor has a blind floor on the street and at its base, a bench. Here, parents can sit on a south-facing bench and chat after dropping off their child or while waiting for them at the end of the school day. And when it rains, parents can take shelter under the archway on the other side of the school doors.

Hackney New Primary School incorporates social value especially in outdoor spaces. These spaces, in fact free, are shaped by the construction and configuration of the plan. Thresholds invite children, teachers and parents to linger, giving them time to build friendships and relationships that will ultimately allow parents in particular to make friends including themselves and their children. need. Public schools, like libraries, are free and yet they have much more potential than the title “school” suggests. They can solve practical problems, juggling work and childcare, that the welfare state might otherwise struggle to solve, enrich and make family life worthy, and provide a social network that might otherwise hint at good. many of these families.

This project is intrinsically urban because it brings together different and independent uses to create a new part of the city. By introducing two familiar building forms – the courtyard and the tower – the hybrid project is easily readable. The residential block with its arcade at street level has a landmark quality that gives a civic presence to both the school and the new homes. The low-level public seating inside the exterior wall of the school is also aimed at creating this type of common and shared space.

Simon Henley, Founding Partner, Henley Halebrown

Project data

Start on the spot april 2017
Completion date april 2020
Gross interior floor area 8500m²
Gross floor area (internal + external) GIA 1,730 m², GEA 2,105 m²
Form of contract or procurement route Design, development and construction (tailor-made)
Construction cost £ 23.5million (cost of construction)
Construction cost per m2 £ 3,030 (estimated)
Architect Henley halebrown
Artist Paul Morrison
Customer Downham Road Ltd (JV), Education Funding & Skills Agency (EFSA), The Benyon Estate, Thornsett, Hackney New School Academy Trust
Structural engineer Technician
M&E Consultant Elementa (pre-contract), Silcock Dawson (construction)
QS RLB (before contract), Thornsett Structures (during construction)
Landscape consultant Tyler Grange (pre-contract)
Planting Jennifer Benyon Conception
Acoustic consultant Consult the rhythm
Project Manager RLB
MDP coordinator Raper potter
Certified building inspector MLM
Main contractor Thornsett structures
CAD software used Vectorworks

Environmental performance data

On-site energy production 88.83% (67% cogeneration, 21.83% PV)
Watertightness at 50pa 3m3/ hm2
Heating and hot water load 39.3 kWh / m2/year
Global U-value weighted by zone 0.4 W / m2K
Conception of life Structure 50 years; exterior walls 40 years; roof covers 30 years; exterior doors and windows 25 years
Annual CO2 emissions 25.49 tonnes per year (school and retail)

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