Holy Trinity School and Vibe, E8 by Rock Townsend and Stockwool for London Diocesan Board for Schools, win Mixed Usage Built Award at New London Awards

Our replacement two form entry primary school built at ground and first floor with a double height play deck at second; and 101 new apartments above to cross-subsidise the school’s expansion programme has won the Mixed Usage Build Award at the prestigious New London Awards. Commenting on the development Boris Johnson said “A perfectly genius proposal… The design for the redevelopment of Holy Trinity School is pioneering and cleverly tackles the need to provide more housing and more primary school places.”

The initial design by Rock Townsend maximised space and value, but at the same time brought various challenges. Firstly, the services for the homes needed to be diverted away from the school for access and maintenance purposes. This is achieved in part by concealing them in the undulating soffit on the open-level games area and playground. In addition, work on the school was completed ahead of the residential element, creating a complex phasing strategy.

The design provides places for 420 pupils and was informed by numerous workshops with the school which established their design requirements, particularly in terms of the layouts, fixtures and finishes.

The design treatment is led by the context, with a material palette of brick, precast concrete and glazing that make reference to the several neighbouring developments which have recently been built. This site was key to the regeneration of the wider area and contributes to creating a diverse new community in this part of east London.

The building has also won London Sustainable Development Commission Award at the Housing Design Awards

Outdoor amenity space was key to successfully integrating housing and a school on a small urban site. Whilst vertically stacking this mix of uses often results in a loss of outside space, this solution integrates an innovative double-height open-air play deck that separates the school from the housing that, coupled with mature ground floor landscaping and classroom balconies, dramatically increases outside play space despite the addition of housing to the site. The residents benefit from a shared rooftop garden and private balconies that exceed minimum LHDG areas.

The design for Holy Trinity continuously evolved as public funding diminished and the proportion of housing increased to cross-subsidise the new school. What started as a school expansion masterplan became a bold, mid-rise, mixed-use development

See a film about this outstanding building here