Tidemill Academy and Deptford Lounge
Pollard Thomas Edwards
- Original design
- Pollard Thomas Edwards, 2011
The 2019 programme is now past. We will be launching the 2020 programme mid August 2020 (exact date to be confirmed)
The Deptford Lounge is an important element in the wider regeneration of Deptford. It has been designed to provide a focus for the local area, placing a school at its heart, and an innovative arrangement of shared community facilities.
The Deptford Lounge is not just a library: it includes a cafe and fully accessible toilets and also offers a rooftop sports court, a hall, numerous meeting rooms, a food science room, and a soundproofed music room. The Lounge acts as a hub; bringing local people together, strengthening community participation and fostering a feeling of pride in their surroundings. It has transformed the area at night from a previously intimidating environment to a safer, more welcoming space. This has been achieved through a combination of design (large glass windows that connect the inside space to the street and square) and long opening hours, including a programme of evening events.
The visionary scheme is part of the London Borough of Lewisham’s strategic masterplan for the regeneration of central Deptford. It combines the Deptford Lounge – a new state-of-the-art district library which offers a whole range of community facilities – with new premises for Tidemill Academy and Resolution Studios, which creates new duplex homes over studios and exhibition space for local artists. The whole complex is designed as a focus for public life, putting culture and leisure at the heart of the regeneration of Deptford town centre.
The Deptford Lounge is located on Deptford High Street on a site which had been bombed in WWII and had become a featureless space used as a shoppers’ car park. Now the Deptford Lounge opens out onto Giffin Square, which provides a public space for the community and a venue for Deptford’s regular open-air market.
Our aim was to restore to Deptford something of the grandeur of its past by making the Deptford Lounge a proud public building – so it presents a dramatic backdrop to Giffin Square with its gold-coloured perforated copper skin. It is a state-of-the-art public library where you can borrow a book, use a computer, play sport, learn a new skill, meet with like-minded people, organise community activities, access council services, have a coffee and a cake and lots more. It even provides accessible public toilets. At ground level, its largely glazed façade is designed to be inclusive and welcoming.
Tidemill Academy has a formal entrance from Giffin Square which provides the school with a prominent presence in the heart of Deptford, but the school itself wraps around a cloistered courtyard garden into which all the classrooms have direct access, forming a quiet oasis within this highly urban setting.
The school is bounded by the Lounge to the south, by Resolution Studios to the north, and to the west by the converted warehouses which now provide a home for a Special Educational Needs unit. All these elements are linked by a glazed corridor which wraps around three sides of the sheltered courtyard. All the teaching spaces in the school are at ground level, and all classrooms have direct access into the playground, which the children themselves helped to design.
And finally, Resolution Studios sits over the far wing of the school – it consists of 38 affordable apartments with nine studios for local artists and businesses and an exhibition space on the ground floor.
The key to the scheme is the sharing of facilities between the school and the community. The new complex has succeeded in acting as a hub to bring local people together, strengthening community participation and fostering a feeling of pride in their surroundings.
Client: London Borough of Lewisham
Architect: Pollard Thomas Edwards