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St Paul's Way Trust School


The siting and orientation of this building is key to its success not only as a community school but also as a low energy building.

The school sits proudly on the street with no fences screening it off from the public.  The ground floor of the building, street side, offers a range of public functions including a business centre, sports facilities and a theatre. The building section helps overcome the issues with public and secure private spaces for the school by mainly raising all the school teaching functions to the first floor.

The building is divided into 6 distinct parts giving it its striking image on the street. The houses all incorporate a top lit atrium to bring light to all the circulation area and the central functions which give each house its character.  The subjects in the school are arranged in themes within each house.  The houses contain 7 or 8 different types of teaching spaces from traditional classrooms through to open spaces within which a number of different teaching styles can be used.  This move away from the traditional school was driven by the head teacher, Grahame Price, who saw the potential this building could offer.  With a Faraday Science Centre, one of the first in the country, their science specialism is flourishing.

The orientation of the building meant that we could naturally ventilate all the north facing classrooms.  To the south and the road, we needed to service these spaces with mechanical ventilation for both acoustics and large internal heat loads such as IT. The building has exposed concrete ceilings and night purging of heat to maintain a more even temperature throughout the day. The atriums play a significant part in the air movement of the building to create bright, well ventilated learning spaces. This building reduced its carbon use by 60% compared to a typical school and it has BREEAM Excellent accreditation.

As a result of this new building the behaviour of the children has improved greatly and the results over the past two years have improved by around 60%.

Mayor Lutfur Rahman, Tower Hamlets Council, who officially opened the new building last year, said: “St Paul’s Way Trust School boasts some of the best learning facilities in the country, whilst providing an unprecedented amount of new facilities for the local community. Winning a London Planning Award shows that the borough’s Building Schools for the Future programme is setting the bar for teaching facilities of the future.”

Project Data:  
Client:  Tower Hamlets  Council/
 Bouygues UK
Area:   12,500m²
Budget:  £36M
Completion:  December 2010
Scope:  A-L
BREEAM:  Excellent
  • Winner of a Civic Trust Award 2013 Commendation
  • Regional Finalist in the Civic Trust Awards 2013
  • Winner of The London Planning Awards 2011/2012 – Best Built Project – Community Scale Scheme
  • Shortlisted in the RIBA London 2012 Awards
  • Longlisted in the World Architecture News – Education Sector 2010

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