New London primary school ready in 12 months

New London primary school ready in 12 months

Jan 27, 2016

Despite being located on a busy, tight urban site, the brand new Seven Kings Primary School in London Borough of Redbridge was constructed within a year. The 4FE primary school opened its doors in September 2015 and has achieved BREEAM Excellent on the design stage and great praise from the head teacher.

"The final building looks fantastic and makes clever use of space, light and materials."

Head teacher, Tracy Smith

The new primary school is part of an all through school with the popular and highly regarded Seven Kings High School and can accommodate 840 pupils. The construction was fast tracked to accommodate the academic calendar and the school was successfully opened for pupils in September 2015. Seven Kings Primary School now offers vibrant new learning environments and creative solutions for safe outdoors play in a sustainable environment. The new school also provides flexible spaces in the two halls for use by the local community.

Watkins Gray International was appointed as lead architect by Kier following a previous successful working relationship. A typical urban corner site, the school has a busy road frontage along two boundaries. The design solution was a ring shaped building which provides sufficient indoor space as well as an internal courtyard for play. In addition to this play area, there is a rooftop play deck to allow additional safe play areas causing minimal disruption to the local residents. A further deck provides teaching space used for flexible learning.

Head teacher Tracy Smith had the following to say about the new school and working with the team at Watkins Gray International: "WGI care about buildings and design but also about the purpose of the building and this was so important to us in designing the primary school which would form part of our existing secondary school; we had meaningful discussions about our values for education which they ensured were incorporated into their work." 

To raise school and community engagement, the pupils and public were informed about the designs at the preplanning stage and 3D models were left for display at the school. This triggered interest and pupils left comments for the design team.

"What was so exciting was sharing our vision for the school and seeing the architects turn that into reality.  The team at Watkins Gray International are genuinely collaborative and interested in the ideas you have and there was a real sense of consultation and partnership, which included working with our students", says head teacher Tracy Smith.