In late 2016 Walters & Cohen won an invited competition to design a new co-educational secondary school for 1150 pupils aged 11-18 years old at the site of Twyford Abbey in Ealing, west London.
The Abbey is a Grade II listed building close to Hangar Lane Station that was built in the early 19th century. Left vacant since 1988, it had fallen into a serious state of disrepair and was on Historic England’s Heritage at Risk Register. Our proposal refurbishes the Abbey for administrative and sixth form use, and introduces new buildings for teaching, sport and dining facilities. At more than 54,000 square metres, the extensive grounds provide great opportunities for outdoor learning, making the most of the historic Walled Garden, open parkland and mature woodland. Construction is phased so that the school will open with three year groups in 2018 and with a full school roll in 2019.
There are three key design challenges posed by the site: it is adjacent to the North Circular, so we need to mitigate against noise and air pollution; it is on Metropolitan Open Land, so requires close discussion with the local planners and GLA; and it features heritage assets that, with careful enhancement, will make a significant contribution to the school’s unique identity.
The project presents a rare opportunity to design a school from scratch – architecturally and pedagogically – on a beautiful site that captures the imagination. We are pleased to work with an enthusiastic and forward-thinking client and design team.