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Hackney New Primary School and 333 Kingsland Road

by Henley Halebrown

Client Downham Road Ltd. (JV)

Awards RIBA London Award 2022 and RIBA National Award 2022 (sponsored by Forterra)

© Nick Kane

Hackney New Primary School is an immense sculptural pink brute of a building, punctuating a busy junction on the Kingsland Road with a certain civic pride. 

The project comprises a school enabled by a new housing block, both on a single, tight urban site. Its size clearly challenges educational and environmental norms, with the elimination of internal corridors forming an inner world of a closely-knit courtyard and classrooms. It is clear the architects have had to be inventive to deliver the required light and ventilation on this restricted school site and the courtyard is very much the heart of the school in the same way the hall was in the Victorian board school. Everything happens within this central space.

© Nick Kane

The grateful residents of the apartment building appear to be thoroughly enjoying the penthouse qualities of their temporary homes, the wide vistas across East London, and the very generous outside spaces sheltered by the robust, uncomplicated concrete logia structure that defines the building’s external appearance. These current residents are maximising the meanwhile benefit of living in the building while another development gets underway nearby. Eventually, the units will be occupied as 100% affordable housing. 

© Nick Kane

The ten storeys are served by a central octagonal oculus staircase, a visual treat for those with a head for heights. When viewed from the tenth floor or basement, the impact is mesmerising, like a wormhole to another dimension. One hopes that it is enticing enough to tempt residents away from the lift on a day-to-day basis. 

Equally of note is the façade, of delightful high-quality, with a solid street presence. The apartment building touches the pavement in a well-mannered way, with a welcoming colonnade giving space back to the public realm and a sense of place to the shop unit fronts.  

© Lorenzo Zandri

Likewise, the long precast concrete bench backing onto the simply articulated blind façade of the school hall has been thoughtfully provided for waiting parents beside the school gates.  
Overall, these elements make this a conceptually rigorous and notable architectural response.

Internal area:    8,500.00 m²

Contractor: Thornsett Structures

Structural Engineers: Techniker  

Environmental / M&E Engineers: Elementa

Landscape Architects: Tyler Grange  

Planting: Jennifer Benyon Design

Artist: Paul Morrison

Planning Consultant: CMA Planning 

Principal Designer: Potter Raper 

Approved Inspector: MLM 

Fire Consultant: BWC Fire  

Acoustic Engineers: Pace Consult 

Transport Consultant: Phil Jones Associates

@Nick Kane
@Nick Kane
© Henley Halebrown
@Henley Halebrown
© Henley Halebrown
© Henley Halebrown
© Henley Halebrown
© Henley Halebrown
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