Newlands School, Southwark, London

Newlands School Southwark, South London Education Building, Peckham

Newlands School, London

Southwark Education Building: Special Educational Needs – design by Wright & Wright Architects

10 Oct 2013

Newlands School in Southwark

Location: south London

Design: Wright & Wright Architects

Wright & Wright Architects wins BCI Award for Newlands School

Wright & Wright Architects has won a British Construction Industry (BCI) award for Newlands School, Peckham in the Building Project £3m – £50m category.

The judges commented:
“A demanding project developed to a very tight programme with strong interaction between the client, the architectural and building teams and the local community has created a unique and appropriate facility. Changes to BSF programme demanding a 10% cost saving was achieved by shrinking slightly the floor spaces – none of which apparent in the completed building. One of the judges described the visit and seeing the school in action an unusually emotional experience.”

Newlands School Building Newlands School Building Newlands School Building
photos : Richard Bryant

Completed in early 2013, the 3175 sq m new-build Special Educational Needs (SEN) school is specifically designed for children with Social, Emotional and Behavioural Difficulties (SEBD). In response to SEBD design criteria, the school is a robust, two-storey building, with all facilities contained under one roof.

Legible circulation was a fundamental aspect of the design, allowing pupils and staff to orientate themselves with ease. Natural light was an integral part of the brief from the outset and large windows in every room flood the space with light. A central courtyard at the heart of the building admits natural light deep into the plan and doubles as an amphitheatre connected to the performing arts space.

A simple palette of materials was chosen based on durability and quality, including brick, concrete paving and bronze-powder coated aluminium windows and metalwork. The building is predominantly clad in yellow brick and organised as a series of two-storey, terrace-like ranges to integrate with the surrounding street typologies and urban grain.

Sandy Wright, Founding Partner of Wright & Wright said:
“We are delighted that Newlands School has been recognised with a BCI Award. This success is testament to the commitment of the school staff, who were closely involved in the design development, as well as the positive collaboration with the contractor Balfour Beatty and the whole of the design team.”

12 Mar 2013

Newlands School

Location: south London

Design: Wright & Wright Architects

Wright & Wright Architects completes Special Educational Needs School in Southwark

Wright & Wright Architects has completed Newlands School, a 3175 sq m new-build Special Educational Needs (SEN) school that is specifically designed for children with Social, Emotional and Behavioural Difficulties (SEBD).

Located in the London Borough of Southwark, Newlands School is one of the last projects to be built through the Building Schools for the Future (BSF) programme. The building was delivered by the Local Education Partnership ‘4 Futures’, a joint venture comprising Southwark Council, Balfour Beatty Education and Building Schools for the Future Investments (BSFi).

Newlands School
photos : James Brittain

Newlands School, formerly known as Bredinghurst School, was previously located in a large Victorian house adjacent to the new site which was no longer fit for purpose. The new school caters for around 70 boys between the ages of eleven and sixteen, many of whom come from adverse family backgrounds and have specific learning needs. In response to SEBD design criteria, the school is a robust, two-storey building, with all facilities contained under one roof.

Wright & Wright engaged in extensive consultation with teachers, students and the local community during the development of the brief in order to understand the social structure of the school and support its complex functional needs. The brief was tailored around the school’s ethos of inclusion and cohesion, providing facilities for a skills-based curriculum focusing on Horticulture, Cooking, Design Technology, Art, Sports, Music and Performing Arts.

Newlands School London Newlands School Southwark Newlands School Building Southwark Education Building
photos : James Brittain

Legible circulation was a fundamental aspect of the design, allowing pupils and staff to orientate themselves with ease. The ground floor is organised around one long, central ‘street’ that runs from the entrance to the rear gardens and sports field. Designed as a double-height, top-lit hall, the ‘street’ provides access to all principal areas and circulation routes. At first floor level, access to classrooms is from a series of corridors that overlook the landscaped central courtyard.

Internal windows provide clear sight lines throughout the building to allow passive monitoring by staff, who are deliberately dispersed throughout the plan. There are no dead-end corridors, which had been a problem in terms of bullying in the previous school. Instead, doors open directly onto outside spaces and staircases are two metres wide to provide plenty of space to deter confrontation between pupils.

Natural light was an integral part of the brief from the outset and large windows in every room flood the space with light. A central courtyard at the heart of the building admits natural light deep into the plan and doubles as an amphitheatre connected to the performing arts space. The concept of inclusion is manifested in the courtyard space, which is shared between students and staff alike.

Newlands School Southwark Newlands School Southwark Newlands School Southwark Newlands School Southwark
photos : James Brittain

Set-back behind a mature tree line, the classrooms at first floor level engage with the treetops. Teaching spaces at ground floor provide access onto the courtyard and the animated perimeter of gardens terraces. Additionally, external teaching spaces allow students to spend time outdoors, helping to create a calming atmosphere and supporting the school’s strategy to disperse teaching groups around the site.

A simple palette of materials was chosen based on durability and quality, including brick, concrete paving and bronze-powder coated aluminium windows and metalwork, with wooden-sprung and vinyl flooring in the performing arts space. The building is predominantly clad in yellow brick and organised as a series of two-storey, terrace-like ranges to integrate with the surrounding street typologies and urban grain. The contrast with the red brick palette of the local housing accentuates the school’s civic character within its residential context.

Community use was a key factor in delivering the building. The local community were involved in consultation throughout the design process and will be able to use the school facilities such as the performing arts space, gym, sports hall and playing field.

Sandy Wright, Founding Partner of Wright & Wright said: “We are delighted with the positive feedback from teachers about their new school. This success is testament to the positive collaboration with the contractor Balfour Beatty and our determination to achieve an excellent result with a very tight budget. We set out to design a school that can impact positively on the way people interact and operate as a community, and in turn, help address social problems.”

Newlands School Southwark Newlands School South London Newlands School Building
photos : James Brittain

Quotes Relating to Newlands School

“Wright & Wright’s Newlands School in Peckham restored my faith in British architecture.”
Rory Olcayto Deputy Editor, Architects’ Journal

“You have to visit Newlands and see it for real, to fully understand just how good this building is.”
Rory Olcayto Deputy Editor, Architects’ Journal

“An exemplary project”
Design Review Panel Planning Report

“I would like to express my gratitude to Wright & Wright, for the design and development of an outstanding school that will support and harness the potential of some of the most underprivileged students in Southwark.”
Lord Lyons of Pertenhall
Chair of the Board of Governors, Newlands School

Newlands School Southwark images / information from Wright & Wright Architects

Wright & Wright Architects


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