Architecture Initiative wins go-ahead for DfE property company’s first school
Architecture Initiative has won approval for a free school in south-west London – the first scheme to be unveiled by government-owned property company LocatED.
Plans for the scheme in Kingston High Street include demolishing four office buildings on the site to provide a 2,044m² primary school as well as 11 flats overlooking the Thames and Hampton Court Palace.
The project is backed by LocatED, which was set up last year by the Department for Education to buy and develop sites for new free schools in England.
With a £2 billion budget, the company aims to help meet the government’s target of building the additional 110 free schools announced in the March budget and 600,000 school places by 2021.
The Kingston primary school will be in a three, four and five storey building, providing spaces for 420 pupils, with two separate elements linked by a glazed bridge. It will be run by UAE-based education company GEMS.
Craig Shanley, associate at Architecture Initiative, said: ‘Many schools can be quite “clinical” in their design, whereas we believe children benefit from more playful environments, which is what the courtyard and bridge link in this design help to create.
‘The design strives to maximise an inner-city site – an increasingly common challenge for new schools – but it’s often the most challenging sites that result in the most creative designs.’