St Mary Magdalene Church of England Primary School, Woolwich, Southeast London

The £7.6 million Church of England Primary School, built for the Diocese of Southwark and Royal Borough of Greenwich, features a robust design methodology that incorporates “playdecks”, increasing its pupil size from One Form Entry to Two Form Entry with more than double the original teaching space.

The main hall is a dominant feature of the design, functioning as a buffer between the noisy road network and the teaching and play spaces. A modern interpretation of the church stained-glass window is incorporated into the new building and reflects the school’s dual identity as a place of both worship and education. At night, it is particularly spectacular; the hall becomes a beautifully lit local landmark, creating a lasting image for both the school and community.

Built in 1877, the original Victorian school building was quickly becoming unfit for purpose, suffering from a poor sustainability record coupled with deficient lighting and ventilation. The new building has been equipped with a natural ventilation system featuring night cooling technology; sensors operate louvres which provide ventilation during the day.

The school incorporates sustainable features such as green roofs, grey water recycling, and high levels of insulation. Photovoltaic panels generate electricity, cutting emissions by an estimated 10 percent. As a result, the building is BREEAM rated “Very Good”. A wind turbine has also been incorporated for educational purposes, used for teaching the children about the benefits of renewable energy pertaining to both their school and the environment.

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