London Diocesan Board for Schools and DCSF
St Mary Magdalene Academy is a 1,360-place all-through school, from reception to sixth form and co-located with a new Early Years Centre; providing continuity of education within one facility. Individual areas have their own sense of identity, whilst benefiting from the common culture. Walls are mainly clad with clay tiles and laminated timber-framed windows, the halls are picked out with sharply detailed hardwood cladding, adding quality and presence. Views in, out and throughout present an easily-navigated series of memorable spaces to orientate and delight users.
The Academy was designed to maximise use of a very tight urban site: the built Academy’s internal floor area is approximately the same as the overall gross site area. The new school is an example of how to optimise available space to provide high quality indoor and outdoor spaces. The school also illustrates our interest with the relationship between internal spaces – autonomy with coherence.
The project proved to be politically contentious in its early stages, due to the size and location of the site, and extensive consultations were undertaken with all parties: staff, governors, Local Authority, planners and local residents. The completed Academy now plays an important role in the community, with a range of facilities shared by pupils and public.