Walters & Cohen was one of four architects shortlisted in this competition run by the RIBA on behalf of London Borough of Southwark. The Michael Faraday School is an existing school on the Aylesbury Estate which, at the time it was built, was the largest housing estate in Europe. The proposal was for an iconic two-form-entry primary school that would act as a catalyst for the regeneration of the entire estate. Our aim was to ensure that positive themes developed in the existing school were continued and encouraged in the new school.
Our proposal was a two-storey building with a large roof terrace and generous garden, which maximises the opportunity for outdoor learning. Classrooms at ground floor level open onto outdoor classrooms; those at first floor level open onto a ‘garden in the sky’. Building elements (classrooms, halls, community) wrap around and enclose a ‘learning court’ at the heart of the school, where indoor and outdoor learning activities combine.
Community facilities are located at ground floor level and arranged around a courtyard, allowing the school and community to use shared accommodation securely during and after school hours. The school is a haven for pupils and a green oasis at the heart of the estate.