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Coombe Wood School, Croydon, London

  • Client:
    Coombe Wood School
  • Architect:
    Sheppard Robson
  • Accreditation:
    BREEAM Excellent
  • Value:

Funded by the Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA), this 1680-pupil, comprehensive, mixed secondary school includes state-of-the-art learning spaces for children aged 11 to 18, as well as enhanced community sports facilities.

The project – led by a Wates consortium – has been arranged as three connected classroom ‘fingers’ that allow the building to respond to the site’s extensive contours, with a series of split levels that naturally animate the design. This composition reduces the mass of the building and allows it to sit comfortably within the context of a mature green space and residential buildings. The learning and social spaces look out onto two south-facing courtyards that are created by the tripartite composition, whilst also framing views out over the playing fields and woodland beyond.

The principal communal and community elements address Coombe Road, with the volume of the main hall distinctly expressed as a pitched form. This northern elevation includes full-height glazed slots that divide the three ‘fingers’, creating a visual connection into the school’s courtyards.

The sports facilities include a full-size 3G pitch and athletics track, with a number of the amenities and the new five-court sports pavilion open to the public during the day, in the evening and on weekends.