Livity School

Nestled amongst the dark brick façades of residential blocks in the inner-city borough of Lambeth, the Livity School breathes life into this former brownfield site. The school, winner of the Civic Trust Award, combines thoughtful use of materials, bright and inviting outdoor play spaces and a range of dedicated facilities for special needs children and adults.

The site had previously been home to a disused single-storey building, which was to be demolished and replaced with a three-storey school building with an emphasis on accessibility, including fire lifts, spacious refuge areas and a ramp that encircled a central assembly area. The client’s aspirations of BREEAM ‘Very Good’ standards were achieved through materiality and ventilation.

The footprint of the building was kept to a minimum, increasing the scope for outdoor play areas at ground floor level. This resulted in a taller building than that originally on the site, but a sensitive roof treatment of standing seam zinc in a dark colour softened the building’s outline and ensured that the school did not impose heavily on the skyline. We sank the building into the ground slightly to further reduce its impact, founding it on piles, since the ground was too variable to consider raft foundations. Continuous Flight Auger piling was chosen to reduce the impact of vibration on the nearby buildings and the retained trees surrounding the development.

At ground level simple brick and block cavity walls were implemented, with the cantilevered floors above clad in aluminium panels over Metsec framing, punctuated by elongated windows. This cantilever provides sheltered and shaded car parking and play space. Over the Early Years Centre glulam beams form a portal frame connected to the concrete walls below to provide stability side to side. Within the building itself, the required disabled facilities dictated the structural form, with large spans above a hydrotherapy pool and the addition of a heavy hoist track in the brief.

Three-storey Special Needs School with associated facilities which achieved a BREEAM ‘Very Good’ rating

London, UK
London Borough of Lambeth
Haverstock Associates
£ 13 million
  • 2014 Civic Trust Award