Our work with architect Walters & Cohen on the design of four junior schools formed a key part of the London Borough of Havering’s school modernisation programme. Two of the schemes - Hylands and Elm Park schools - were new-build, while Gidea Park and Towers Junior schools were refurbishment projects with significant additions.
While much of the two-storey Elm Park School is concrete framed, the stand-out element is a double-height central space constructed using glulam timber portal frames. Masonite I-joists support the plywood roof, which has varying pitch along its length, creating a striking appearance.
The concrete construction of the classrooms was chosen for environmental performance, with a high thermal mass and exposed soffits to provide natural ventilation and cooling. Other eco-friendly features include a biomass boiler and sedum roof.
The first floor accommodation cantilevers into the shared ‘heart space’, while a steel external walkway with precast concrete deck planks runs the length of the building and provides an escape route.
Concrete was also chosen for Hylands School, comprising a two-storey building surrounding an internal courtyard. The biggest engineering challenge in this scheme was the large terrace, with views towards the City of London, which cantilevers from the front of the building and forms a porch above the school’s entrance. We needed to incorporate a thermal break into the cantilever structure, achieved by casting a steel section into the concrete slab, to which was welded the thermal break connection.
Alterations to Gidea Park and Towers Junior schools were more modest, but involved investigations into the existing fabric. A new steel-framed extension was built at Gidea Park School, providing four classrooms plus a small hall and various other facilities. Construction was carefully sequenced under our guidance to minimise disruption. This delivered buildability, programme and cost benefits.
Modernisation of four junior schools as part of a borough-wide renewal programme
London Borough of Havering
Walters & Cohen
£ 20.5 million
- 2011 BCSE Award (Towers Junior School)