Drapers’ Academy

Drapers' Academy, London, UK, FCBStudios
Construction year: 2012
Address: Settle Road, Harold Hill, Romford RM3 9XR | LONDON | United Kingdom | Visit Website
Latitude/Longitude: 51.61025, 0.24026

The new Drapers’ Academy specialising in Science and Maths provides education for 1100 pupils in years 7 to 13. The Academy has been funded by the Department for Education and sponsored by the Worshipful Company of Drapers’ and Queen Mary, a college of the University of London. Located in Harold Hill Learning Village, a unique site of exceptional beauty on the edge of Harold Hill and the green belt; the form of the building is inspired by a learning journey for its pupils and seen as a country house, beautifully detailed, sitting elegantly within its own landscape with views to the wonderful surrounding landscape.

Won in competition through the Department for Education (DfE) Academies Contractors framework in April 2010, Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios developed the scheme with both Sponsors and Kier Construction London so that the Academy started on site in December 2010 with completion by August 2012 for the new Academic year in September 2012.

FCBStudios responded to the Academy’s curriculum organisation which is strongly reflected throughout the design. The science faculty is central to the Academy, arranged over two floors with Faraday science studios combined with traditional laboratories and preparation rooms able to operate like pharmacy style dispensing points. These, together with the Bio-dome to support the biological sciences, healthy living and horticulture provides a link with mathematics through an experiential zone facing the maths cluster on the adjacent side of the courtyard. This courtyard around which the accommodation is arranged not only provides a protected secure learning environment but also provides shelter, shading and covered circulation.

The common aim was to raise students’ expectations and create an environment focused on excellent standards and high achievement. The arrangement of the spaces looks to respond both to the expansive nature of this ‘green site’, the natural topography that slopes towards the east and to the brief requirement for a variety of curriculum possibilities providing flexibility and adaptability for the future. Inspiration was also taken from how the now demolished Dagnam Park House sat as an object within its own elegant landscape. Synthesis of the brief and landscape influences generated the open stepped courtyard form that encloses and is enclosed by its own landscape. Brick was selected as single facade material to evoke a sense of permanence and sedum roofs used to compliment the landscape in views east from the upper floors.

“The new Drapers’ Academy building is the clearest possible architectural statement of the importance of education. Its beauty and elegance will give every pupil a clear sense that they have the right to aspire to the best. The building also has a sense of calm and a clarity of purpose that provides a wonderful environment for focussed learning”
Professor Morag Shiach, Queen Mary

“A key part of our vision has been to make best use of this magnificent site given to us by London Borough of Havering less than four years ago. I hope you can agree that Kier and their partners, especially the architects Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios, have built a magnificent school set in superb grounds. It has also been built on time, on budget and to specification…….”
Extract of Chair of Governors speech, Drapers’ Academy official opening

Contributed by Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios

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