In 2013 Walters & Cohen was commissioned to design a new all-through school near Moscow. The school would be part of a new urban development southwest of the city, known as Razdory, and we worked with other architects in the UK and Russia to ensure the design fitted with the local context. Our role finished just before planning; during this time we gained a good understanding of Russia’s education system, and enjoyed contributing to the large and complex scheme.
The contemporary new all-through school is for 850 students, with 300 in kindergarten and 550 in elementary and secondary education. We strived to create an environment of educational excellence fit for the Russian curriculum, but also based on our knowledge and years of experience designing schools in the UK. The ethos of the school is founded on the highest education standards, clear communication and the individual development of students from kindergarten to secondary school.
The school occupies a large wooded area in the eastern corner of the Razdory site. The idea of a ‘school in a forest’ inspired the building and landscape design proposals. Buildings are two storeys with pitched roofs clad in copper to match the roofs of the new houses. Accommodation is arranged around two external landscaped courtyards, one for the kindergarten and one for the elementary-secondary school. Teaching, learning and play spaces are filled with natural light, and a strong relationship between indoors and outside provides an inspiring and uplifting education environment.