Prater delivers exemplary building envelope for grade II listed 1950s school refurb

A Leading external envelope contractor Prater has delivered an exemplary building envelope for the £30 million refurbishment of Ark Putney Academy, a secondary school in Putney, West London. The project overall has resulted in the creation a 21st century learning environment whilst sensitively preserving the heritage of its existing Grade II listed main school building.

 The ground-breaking London County Council’s department of architecture, also responsible for the iconic Royal Festival Hall, originally designed the school, formerly known as Elliott School, in the fifties. However, time had taken its toll and the buildings were in need of essential repairs and modernisation, showing signs of substandard classrooms, dilapidated cladding and year-round problems with heating, cooling and ventilation.

Internationally-renowned award winning practice Hawkins\Brown has worked with Lendlease and the London Borough of Wandsworth to re-furbish, re-model and re-imagine the school, now known as Ark Putney Academy. Prater was appointed for its technical expertise and operational capabilities to deliver, demonstrating the best solution for this challenging project. Commenting on Prater’s performance, Lendlease’s John Fifield, Project Director, Construction, Europe said:

“Prater carried out and successfully completed this project for Lendlease with a flexible approach to achieve the design requirements demanded by the Grade II listed buildings”.

There were several elements to Prater’s involvement. Firstly and completely re-inventing the look of the building, Prater installed a new environmentally responsive façade comprising 4000m2 new Schuco curtain walling to the main five-storey building with better insulated, modern glazing to improve year-round temperature and energy management, also creating lighter, brighter classrooms. Also 1000m2 SFS, Steni Colour Rainscreen was installed to the new sports hall.

One of the key challenges was the delivery of the replacement glazing to the ‘Zig Zag’ staircores to the main building explains Prater Project Manager, Mike O’Boyle:

“Curtain wall elements were integrated into the main facade with curtain wall screens connected back to the Grade II listed floating staircase landings – it was a real challenge but looks great.”

Prater was also responsible for the roofing work. Replacing the demolished gym block is a new, purpose-built four-court community sports facility, constructed to the latest Sport England standards. Prater worked alongside supply chain partner Bemo, to install the 800m2 acoustic (attenuation and absorption) standing seam roofing system to the new, barrelled sports hall roof.

Furthermore, 900m² Sika Sarnafil single ply roofing was installed to the DT block, sports hall link and canopies.

Steve Foster, Prater’s Associate Director – Operations, explains how the refurbishment works were carried out:

“The school was temporarily moved into accommodation on existing school land and was live throughout the construction process. This meant working closely with the school, and the local community, to ensure the complex logistical deliveries were carried out with minimal disruption.”