riba awards

Regent High School






ARCHITECT: Walters & Cohen Architects

CLIENT: BAM Construction Ltd for London Borough of Camden


riba LONDON award 2016, 
RIBA London Sustainability Award 2016 - sponsored by sika

Regent High School is a secondary school for 1300 pupils. It is a non-selective, co-educational comprehensive serving an inner-city community in the deprived area of Somers Town, LB Camden. This was a late Building Schools for the Future project. Regent High School is an impressively ambitious scheme that is both thoughtful and bold. A successful project set to change the lives of the children attending the school. Impressive site planning reorganises a disparate and piecemeal collection of buildings that was the original school.

Selective demolition and retention of existing buildings creates a landscaped court at the centre of the site. Circulation and social space wrap the central court and on the entrance side a dramatic multi-level arcade connects the original Victorian school buildings and the new insertions. These spaces are dramatic yet inviting and friendly. This approach creates a series of interconnected spaces with natural light from many angles. A simple elegant concept works around the existing buildings to provide a rich variety of spaces of different character.

The arcade makes best use of excellent Victorian school buildings and exploits the high ceilings of the original building – ‘the Victorians gift to us’, as the architects put it – to give the arcade and the new communal and teaching spaces a real sense of generosity.  The new circulation regime successfully brings much poorer quality buildings from the 1990s into the overall composition of a modern cloistered court. A first floor access deck is given a generously high canopy to create a consistent proportion around the court, thus disguising the diminutive 1990s buildings.

The detailing is simple and cost-effective but is delightfully thoughtful. Coded colour on the inner façade makes reference to music by Beethoven to tell a story that engages the pupils. The name of the school is subtly incorporated into the street façade.

It is clear that a successful relationship with the client and a shared vision have created a vibrant school that has the potential to inspire pupils.

CONTRACTOR: BAM Construction Ltd


M&E ENGINEERS: Buro Happold 

Quantity Surveyor: Navigant 

Project Management: Camden Schools Projects Ltd




PHOTOGRAPHER: dennis gilbert