Thomas’s Battersea Square, Wandsworth Building Redevelopment, South London Building Images
Thomas’s Battersea Square in Wandsworth
18 Dec 2020
Thomas’s Battersea Square
Design: Ackroyd Lowrie
Location: Wandsworth, London, UK
Old Royal Academy of Dance headquarters to be transformed into new school: Thomas’s Battersea Square – this is pipped to be Princess Charlotte’s secondary school!
Wandsworth Borough Council granted planning for a state-of-the-art senior school on the former site of the Royal Academy of Dance in Battersea Square. Designed by Ackroyd Lowrie for Avanton in partnership with Thomas’s London Day Schools, Thomas’s Battersea Square will offer ~40,000 sq ft (4,336m2) of educational space for approximately 500 pupils, connected to Thomas’s Battersea, the adjacent Preparatory School. The consented scheme extends the site’s existing buildings to include 26 new learning spaces, a double height hall, a sixth form centre, dining facilities and a large central atrium.
Thomas’s Battersea Square consists of a series of carefully articulated contemporary additions alongside a sensitive refurbishment of the historic fabric. The Granary building is retained and celebrated, forming the base on which to grow the innovative school. Extensions to the roof and side of the Granary building have been designed to emphasise and enhance the existing fabric whilst maintaining their own contemporary character. A new saw-tooth roofscape takes cues from the site’s industrial history whilst being detailed in a contemporary manner – picking up on the modern educational use of the building.
The school’s new entrance is a striking two storey glass connection between the existing Granary and Fonteyn buildings leading to a 20m high internal atrium jutting through the centre of the plan. This atrium pays homage to the former lifting platforms which facilitated the movement of materials through the Granary, now providing circulation, dramatic daylighting and natural ventilation within the building to all the primary teaching spaces.
The atrium culminates on the ground floor in an open foyer with bleacher seating, creating a space of community and exchange, simulating a traditional forum through program and presence,creating a space to promote informal interactions and activities. This vast ground floor circulation forms the heart of the building linking the learning spaces. By removing the existing car park, and re-landscaping the courtyard – the informal environment extends outdoors, allowing for student gatherings, public access and cycle provisions.
Thomas’s ethos and intention to create a ‘4D education building’ works in tandem with Ackroyd Lowrie’s innovative use of Virtual reality and immersive technology to test and develop the design at 1:1 scale. The design process relied heavily on the ability to immerse the clients in the space and have an ‘in person’ meeting, marking up changes in real-time to the virtual model, allowing for innovative architecture and bold spaces.
Jon Ackroyd, Director of Ackroyd Lowrie said: “It has been an amazing process working alongside Thomas’s school and a fantastic wider team to re-imagine these beautiful historic buildings as a state-of-the-art new senior school. We would like to thank the Wandsworth Council planning team for their valuable input and support and we are delighted the scheme has been granted consent”
Wandsworth Borough Council welcomed “…The exceptional quality of the proposed architecture…“
Tobyn Thomas, Principal, Thomas’s London Day Schools said: “We are delighted and very grateful to every member of the team who have worked to extend the senior years into a first class school which offers a four dimensional educational programme. My imagination was captured from the moment that I put on Ackroyd Lowrie’s Virtual Reality headset”
The new Thomas’s Battersea Square School is due to be completed by late 2022.
About Ackroyd Lowrie
Ackroyd Lowrie are an innovative architectural practice committed to delivering high quality, bespoke spaces for their clients. The practice is led by Jon Ackroyd and Oliver Lowrie who both have extensive experience designing and delivering award-winning schemes. Their studio has developed a pioneering design process that uses the latest Virtual Reality technology to put our clients at the heart of the design process.
Images © Ackroyd Lowrie
Architects: Ackroyd Lowrie
Thomas’s Battersea Square, Wandsworth School images / information received 181220
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