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In 2010 we collaborated with contractor Sir Robert McAlpine on their bid for Hampton Academy in the London Borough of Richmond. Sponsored by the Kunskapsskolan brand, a successful education provider in Sweden, the Academy was the first outside Sweden to be designed in line with their education vision. The Kunskapsskolan ethos suited Walters & Cohen’s design philosophy perfectly, with emphasis on shared spaces and personalised learning.

Our design is modern, open and bright, inspired by Michál Cohen’s visit to three Kunskapsskolan where linked, accessible and open spaces enable a collaborative approach and self-directed learning. Independence, ambition and passive supervision are also facilitated by transparency of classrooms and social areas, which was endorsed in our design. The challenge was to make the most of the site while fitting in the new college facilities around retained buildings. We achieved this by creating three separate buildings for Key Stages 3 and 4 grouped around a central courtyard with the existing learning resource centre and gym, music and theatre building integrated with the new buildings. Careful distinction between the colleges through use of colour improves wayfinding and provides a sense of ownership and individuality.

Sir Robert McAlpine were one of two final bidders. We were delighted to take part and be inspired by the progressive spirit of Swedish pedagogy.

Client Kunskapsskolan; London Borough of Richmond
Total value £15.4m
Competition June 2010
Area 14,000 m2 (incl. existing buildings)
Contractor Sir Robert McAlpine
Structure Walsh Group
Building Services Max Fordham LLP
Landscape Illman Young Landscape Design
Presentation model Bullfrog Models