GEMS Kingston Primary Academy
A sunken courtyard provides natural light to classrooms and creates a contextually sensitive building form.
Located on the High Street of a historic conservation area with river frontage and views over to Hampton Court, this mixed-use educational and residential development has been designed to sensitively address its complex context, whilst maximising access to natural daylight and external play areas for the school.
The development is proposed as two separate elements linked via a suspended glazed walkway across the centre of the site. The proposal forms a part three, four and five storey building, with 4-5 storeys fronting High Street and 3 storeys fronting South Lane. A basement main hall for the school will provide adequate area for pupil dining and indoor sports.
It is proposed that the heart of the site will be landscaped to provide varied and exciting external play space. This sheltered area is the best location to prevent overlooking, retain privacy and reduce any potential noise impact on neighbouring properties. It is important that a rich and varied external environment is provided to enhance learning and play activity and to respond to the requirements of a range of pupils and age groups.
The High Street elevation has been broken down into three key built forms, the school element to the left, mixed use in the centre and residential to the right. These elements have been defined clearly by varying the brick type. This change in material helps break up the facade and makes the individual uses identifiable. The three brick types chosen range from a light, red and brown brick. These materials reflect the palette within the Riverside South and Kingston Old Town Conservation Areas.
The South Lane elevation directly relates to its context by reflecting the character of the local vernacular; namely proportionate bay widths, stepped elevation, domestic scale windows, mansard roofs, dormer windows and brick detailing. The South Lane elevation consists of five repeated bays with an additional ‘book end’ bay to the south. Each bay includes coupled windows with an inset brick reveals. Pale/light brick is proposed for the South Lane elevation, to match the brick proposed for the ‘school’ element on the High Street elevation. In this way the school has it’s own identifiable appearance with a material that defines the school buildings.
The residential units sit above the school and have been sensitively designed to mitigate overlooking issues to both the school and the neighbouring residential properties that sit along both High Street and South Lane. One of the main strategies to enable this is to locate the private amenity terraces to all residential units on the High Street elevation looking out towards the River Thames.