Squire and Partners has won a competition to design a new sixth form facility for St James Senior Girls’ School in West London, providing an exemplary learning environment which facilitates a transition between secondary school and life as a young adult.
Designs provide bespoke teaching rooms based on small learning groups, assembly halls and social spaces for 100 pupils in a single building overlooking Marcus Garvey Park. The development is designed as a village cluster articulated with a series of distinct volumes for different activities, gathered around a unifying space at the centre of the plan.
In response to the local building vernacular of grand roof expressions, the roof profiles articulate each element of the village cluster with a clay-tiled roof lantern. Glazed rooflights top each lantern, drawing natural light into every part of the building.
Taking reference from the local palette, brick is used as the primary material, with white stone detailing and recessed full height slot windows offering views across the park towards the main school building.
The school reduces energy consumption by optimising passive design, providing assisted natural ventilation that utilizes the form of the building to create a stack effect. At the same time, background ventilation is provided through high level louvres in each window. Recessed windows minimise solar gain, whilst photovoltaic cells will provide a source of renewable energy.