- Contract Value £9,600,000.00
- Duration 64 Weeks
- Address Colyers Lane, Erith, Kent, DA8
In 2010 the London Borough of Bexley identified a vacant 1960’s school located in Erith, south-east London, for a Special Educational Needs provision for 120 pupils aged 7-16 with Autistic Spectrum Disorder. Original building is brick with timber I joists roofs situated on over 1 hectare site next to a Thames Water Reservoir, which required refurbishment throughout and extensions to meet the brief. The proposed site area grew to 1.9ha after inclusion of adjacent educational land and the brief expanded to accommodate of 180 pupils, providing a Post-16 facility.
The nature of the school meant all materials and details required to be robust to create a calming and predictable environment for pupils. Apart from working within existing building fabric, additional challenges were created by proximity of the reservoir and extensive external works including cross over, new footpath to neighbouring school site with road, car parking, MUGA pitch, play areas and estimated 1km of fencing and site level difference of 10m.
Existing layout has been utilised as much as possible with some external areas, such as infilling courtyard which now serves as Staff Room. Existing roof structure has been reinforced by additional timber I joists and overlaid with new thermal insulation and waterproofing. All internal and external windows and doors have been replaced and new roof lights were installed.
Meeting the End User’s requirements of robustness and creating a ‘non-intrusive/disturbing and calm learning/teaching’ environment the classrooms feature Kalwall windows that have additional benefit to disperse light. Especially located on the South side they prevent overheating whilst exceeding thermal standards.
Natural ventilation system has been used in all classrooms, Library and Multi-Function Hall in the form of roof mounted Passivent ventilation shafts.
Internally the school has been divided into 5 zones (Admin, KS2, KS3, Gym and 6th Form) highlighted by different colours (yellow, green, red, grey). Pastel colours and lack of strong patterns play the main role in creating a calm environment for the pupils. The extensions double the existing school area and accommodate the Gym, Multi-Function Hall and ancillary accommodation, kitchen and new corridor with the modular two storey 6th Form Block.