Both the Central Foundation Girls’ School and the Phoenix School were originally housed in listed structures but they have been refurbished and significantly upgraded with new buildings and improved access.
The Phoenix School supports 150 pupils with special educational needs aged from 6-18. Its existing Grade 2* Listed building dates from 1952 and the new building acts as the main entrance as well as housing classrooms, a performing arts space, classrooms and social spaces for the older pupils as well as a roof garden for vocational training. In addition, the existing school in the centre of the site was refurbished to house a library and Design & Technology classroom. It was imperative that all parts of the school became accessible and the new building has step-free access to all areas, including the basement and roof terrace. 95% of the whole building is now step-free for pupils and staff, with the exception of maintenance and plant areas.
The school is clad in a whitish brick and coloured curtain walling, providing a dynamic and distinctive presence for the school on Bow Road. Its stepped profile ties the new building to its neighbours in height and a new lobby defines the entrance at ground level. Since completion, Patel Taylor has been commissioned to provide further designs for a ground floor staff room and roof level retractable canopy as part of the roof garden.
At a larger scale, the Central Foundation Girls’ School looks after 1400 Secondary students. The main part of the scheme involved a two-phase construction of a science block incorporating a new school entrance, dining hall, auditorium, science classrooms and roof level playground.
The second part of the scheme relocates the sixth-form teaching facilities from a remote outdated building into the remodelled 1930s building close to the main school. It incorporates a dramatic new entrance, library, teaching spaces, sixth-form common room and a roof garden. Lastly, existing buildings were remodelled and refreshed as part of a general school upgrade.
A minimalist brick cube protrudes from the corner of the site and connects to the older building by a strip of curtain walling that houses a dramatic new stairway. The reddish hue of the bricks and the white render match the colour palette of the neighbouring brick and limestone listed building. The school grounds connecting the buildings have been extensively landscaped.
Andrew Taylor, Director of Patel Taylor said: “We are proud to have radically transformed these two schools that serve the community in a host of different ways. Design plays such an important role in education and these schools are now better equipped to shape the futures of their students in the 21st century.”
Patel Taylor was appointed by Bouygues UK as architects to work on delivery of London Borough of these schools as part of Tower Hamlets BSF school building programme.