A TIMBER STRUCTURE BRINGS WARMTH AND COMFORT TO THIS LONDON SECONDARY SCHOOL
Designed to meet the local demand for secondary school places, the school for 1450 students is the combined initiative of Twyford CofE High School, The London Borough of Ealing and The London Diocesan Board for Schools, for whom we have designed two other secondary schools (St Mary Magdalene Academy and Chelsea Academy).
The school’s specialism is science, being named after William Perkin, a nineteenth century chemist, who established science-based industry in the Greenford area, following his accidental discovery of ‘mauveine’ dye, the colour of which is subtly referenced in the school’s interior.
Spatial drama throughout provides an uplifting environment for all its users. That this was achieved on an extremely tight budget demonstrates the skill and experience of the design team working beyond all normal expectations.
WARMTH AND LIGHT
The building’s interior is characterised by dramatic top-lit interiors and exposed timber surfaces. Externally its composition offers both a shield to an urban motorway and a welcoming presence to its community. Orientated to reduce solar gain and noise impact, the general teaching spaces face northeast and northwest, reflecting the school’s outward looking philosophy. The atrium spaces in the four-storey ‘apex’ building, their rooflights above, and the running stair, dining and entrance areas, all express exposed CLT, bringing the warmth and lightness of timber into these dramatic interior spaces.
To meet a very tight programme (the school was required to be open within twelve months of construction work starting) the building was constructed using Cross-Laminated Timber (CLT). As a result, the four-storey superstructure was built in only four months using prefabricated timber panels making William Perkin the largest construction project in the UK using this form of construction at the time.