William Perkin Church of England High School
In Brief

Kier Construction for London Diocesan Board for Schools, London Borough of Ealing and the Twyford Academies Trust

London Borough of Ealing

Construction value: 

August 2013

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.

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 north-east and north-west, reflecting the school’s outward looking philosophy.

The atrium spaces in the four storey ‘apex’ building, their rooflights above, the running stair, dining and entrance areas, all express exposed CLT, bringing the warmth and lightness of timber in to 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.

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Selected Awards

2015 Civic Trust Award: Regional Finalist

2015 New London Architecture Awards: Education, Built

RIBA Regional Award 

2013 CE Awards: BIM Project of the Year

2013 New London Architecture Awards: Education: Shortlisted

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"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"
RIBA Judges' comments RIBAJ
"This is a school of great quality achieved within a relatively modest budget. A good example of cross-laminated timber construction, the material comes to life in the school's circulation areas which themselves create dramatic spaces and unexpected views."
RIBA Judges' comments RIBAJ
"The building makes me calm because of the wood that's used to construct it; I am grateful knowing that this place has been made for us"
Student, William Perkin CofE High School
"We, the staff and students, are very proud of our school that has been carefully designed to promote our school values of community and interdependence."
Keir Smith, Associate Headteacher
"The first set of GCSE results were amazing! A big chunk of glory goes to FCBStudios' guts as the building no doubt had a positive impact upon results. The results are exceptional."
Keir Smith, Associate Headteacher
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