Tiger Way Hackney building, Residential block and school development, Hawkins\Brown London architecture photos

Tiger Way Hackney homes and school, London

23 Sep 2021

Design: Hawkins\Brown Architects

Location: north east London, England, UK

Tiger Way Hackney housing and school London

Photos by Jack Hobhouse

Tiger Way Hackney housing and school Buildings

Jury Report

Tiger Way co-locates a school alongside a residential block in Hackney. With space utilisation not just efficient but more than the sum of its parts, the architects prove that this complex emerging typology can be done exceptionally well and provide real social value. The design is by UK architects Hawkins\Brown.

The residential block and school share a double-height plinth that occupies almost the entire site. The school sits to the north, punctuated by cut-away ground-level outdoor areas, while the residential block to the south soars upwards in two separate towers that overlook Hackney Downs Park.

Set back from the southern street edge, the towers combine with the plinth in a way that modulates enough not to overwhelm.

Tiger Way Hackney housing and school buildings

On the northern edge, the joyful school fence enclosure is porous, creating a distinct identity and interest at street level that is respectful of the scale of the neighbouring buildings. Different entrances give direct access to the various outdoor play areas.

The school’s comprehensive outdoor play brief is successfully met by making use of the school’s roof, a fifth elevation that is rich and engaging. It is spatially adept, creating some unique pockets – such as the park room – with well controlled use of budget from a challenging brief.

Tiger Way Hackney housing and school buildings London

From the outside, the building has generous openings and is very well detailed, displaying a rationality and cohesiveness that has a kind of humility. The cream-coloured, striated terracotta that clads both parts of the building is texturally rich and avoids having to pander to primary colour palette. The residential block connects to the street with appropriate scale, modulation and a planted setback, with inset terrace detailing and double-fronted ground-floor units that give it an upmarket feel.

The architects have cleverly used the school’s roofs for a variety of characterful spaces with genuine educational impact. Meanwhile, the playful leaf-green and brown design of the perimeter screen reflects the school’s setting near a park.

Tiger Way Hackney school London design

Inside, the school’s whitewashed interior is elegant in its simplicity. The organization of space allows good passive surveillance with views out or across cut-outs, a successful alternative to the long double-loaded corridors that typify many schools.

The design is based on good, solid sustainable principles. The architects adopted a Soft Landings approach and used their own embodied carbon calculator and metered data in the design. A natural ventilation and chimney strategy combined with a genuine commitment to publish its post-occupancy evaluation findings could yield important lessons for future school design.

The resolution of Tiger Way looks deceptively simple, something it surely is not. Overall, it makes a terrific contribution to its neighbourhood.

Tiger Way Hackney school design

Tiger Way, London – Building Information

Title: Tiger Way
RIBA region: London
Architect practice: Hawkins\Brown
Date of completion: July 2019
Client company name: The London Borough of Hackney
Project city/town: London
Contract value: Confidential
Internal area: 13,496.00 m²
Cost per m²: Confidential
Contractor company name: McLaren


Project Management: Kier Education
Quantity Surveyor / Cost Consultant: Currie & Brown
Environmental / M&E Engineers: Max Fordham
Landscape Architects: Bd Landscape
Structural Engineers: Kier Structures
Planning Consultant: CBRE

• RIBA Regional Award
• Regional Award Short List
• London North

Photographs: Jack Hobhouse


2021 RIBA Client of the Year Shortlist

Tiger Way Hackney homes and school in London – 2021 RIBA Client of the Year Shortlist images / information received 230921

Location: Hackney, north east London, south east England, UK

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