Planning approved for Atkins-designed Westferry Secondary School

Atkins’ design for the new Westferry Secondary School on the Isle of Dogs has been given planning permission as part of the application to regenerate the former Westferry Printworks site. The new school will help meet the future demand for places in Tower Hamlets, providing accommodation and state of the art learning facilities for 1,200 students.

Claire Wakelin, Atkins associate director and lead architect for the project, said,

“Westferry Secondary School will be the gateway building to one of the largest mixed use schemes in London. Our striking design responds to the prominent and challenging inner London site, reinforcing the masterplan principles of views and routes through to the dockside, while maximising the social areas inside and out.”

The wider 6.1 Ha, site regeneration masterplan will transform the area, demolishing the existing printworks and erecting new buildings, from four up to thirty storeys high. As well as the School these will contain over 700 residential units, a mix of commercial and community facilities, and generous public open spaces.

Claire said,

“Our design for the school’s identity was inspired by the site’s former use, drawing on historic and modern printing methods, such as type casts and printing alignment guides. This allowed us to bring the site into the future, but in a way that reflects and acknowledges the site’s past.”

Philip Watson, UK design director at Atkins, said,

“The school is an essential ingredient of this new neighbourhood, with a generous arrival plaza in front of the school that will act as a new town square and community meeting place.”

On completion the school will total 9,800m2, organised around a spacious internal atrium and a teaching wing. The school’s key social spaces will be located at street level behind glass, offering an attractive and welcoming entrance to the school. The compact footprint, use of rooftop areas and external learning balconies makes the best use of the confined site, whilst creating a secure and stimulating learning environment for the students.

The sports facility is in a separate block to the school, allowing the wider community to make use of it outside of school hours. It is located with the recreation and formal sports spaces, and connected to the main school building by a bridge at first floor level.

Atkins is providing multi-disciplinary design services for the new Westferry Secondary School.