Established in 1951 to provide an American education for students of all nationalities in London, the school has been located at its existing site in St John’s Wood since 1971. Having undergone numerous enhancements over the past 40 years, the latest developments will see ISG construct a four-storey art block, a subterranean swimming pool and fitness suite and a new playground with external landscaping.
Phase one of the project involves the construction of a 13,000 sq ft art building with a neo-classical style limestone frontal elevation. The rear façade will feature curtain walling to enhance the volume of natural daylight within the structure and brise soleil to minimise solar gain, with a green sedum roof contributing to the design’s BREEAM ‘Very Good’ performance rating.
ISG will excavate the lower ground floor to the level of the existing school gym basement, with natural light provided by a linear roof light and glazing to the adjoining courtyard. This will accommodate a large ceramics studio with a kiln room, photography studios and toilets. Gallery space will be created on the ground floor, along with a design studio, staff work rooms and stores. First and second floor accommodation will comprise student art studio space.
An external courtyard at lower ground level will link the art building to the new pool and fitness suite that forms the second phase of the redevelopment. The 24,500 sq ft pool and fitness suite complex involves construction of a six lane, 25m swimming pool, a dance studio, fitness suite, changing facilities and ancillary storage, office and plant room areas. ISG will build the new facilities below the existing playground with lighting provided by carefully positioned light voids and roof lights.
Additional work within this phase of the project includes the creation of a new entrance hall in the main school building and the addition of curtain walling to its southern façade, along with recladding the existing external staircases with timber and stone finishes.
The landscaping works in phase three of the programme will see ISG raise the level of the existing playground above the pool and fitness suite by 900mm, with terraced edgings to incorporate the change of level into the existing layout. The work includes both hard and soft landscaping to complement existing mature trees and sports pitches.
Stuart Deverill, ISG’s Southern regional managing director, commented:
“The American School in London is recognised globally for the quality of its educational provision and we are delighted to be delivering such an important project to further enhance facilities to meet the exceptional demand for places.
“This is a complex scheme that involves deep excavations and temporary works in a busy, occupied school environment. Our expertise managing challenging site logistics, applying rigorous health, safety, quality and environmental standards and strong collaboration ethos formed a key element of our winning submission and will prove central to the success of this high-profile project.”