Ashmount Primary School
Penoyre & Prasad
- Original design
- Penoyre & Prasad, 2012
The 2018 programme is now past. We will be launching the 2019 programme mid-August.
The project has transformed a socially threatening, derelict piece of metropolitan open land into a BREEAM Outstanding, carbon negative, exemplary learning and recreational environment for the community.
Extensive engagement with stakeholders, including Islington Children’s Services, Islington Energy Team, Islington Housing, Friends of the Parkland Walk and other community and environmental groups and Local and Greater London Authorities (GLA) was fundamental in creating this sustainable community and infrastructure project and securing planning.
A key criterion set by the GLA was that the new school and nursery should not exceed the overall footprint of the existing nursery and derelict community centre being demolished. This was achieved by locating the new nursery under a berm with the public park continuing over the top and arranging the primary school over four storeys.
The design works carefully with the levels of the site to minimise the school’s impact in the park and embed it in the landscape. Manipulation of plan and cross-section maximises daylight in and views out into the surrounding woodland. At the lower level, a double-height multi-purpose hall opens onto a covered play terrace and SW playground. Higher up the pin wheel plan is composed of three wings of classrooms radiating out from a central circulation spine, which also contains the main entrance, library and a top-lit open-stepped auditorium.
The children’s progress through the school is conceived of as a progression from the earth up into the trees, with the youngest children accommodated at the lowest levels with direct access to the south-facing protected play areas, while the older children occupy the spaces at the tree canopy level with external teaching terrace, roof play areas and spectacular views out into the trees and over the city.
A combined heat and power plant housed in CAPE Youth Centre delivers heat and power across the site and exports excess heat to neighbouring community housing, thereby offsetting the carbon footprint of the school, nursery and CAPE.
Orientation of the plan and high levels of daylight, combined with a mix of natural and assisted ventilation employing the Breathing Buildings ‘e-stack’ system contribute to the school’s low energy performance. Controls monitor and respond to CO2 and temperature levels.
Other environmental initiatives include:
— In-situ concrete frame and precast ‘Omnicore’ concrete planks provide 10m spans for full future adaptability of floor plates & thermal mass for internal comfort.
— Extensive use of recycled materials and materials with low embodied energy
— Use of low-energy lighting systems
— Building Management System to monitor energy use and low-energy mechanical and electrical systems
— Landscape design enhances the existing ecology along the Parkland Walk
— Brown roofs encourage biodiversity and reduces rainwater runoff
— Use of bat and bird boxes incorporated into the buildings
— No parking allowed on site other than for disabled and service vehicles
— 2015: National RIBA Award
— 2012: Highest BREEAM score in Education Sector