December 6, 2021
The new primary school and nursery planned for Nine Elms has been ‘highly commended’ by an International Jury at the New London Awards 2021.
The proposed school will be built on the former South London Mail Centre site between Nine Elms Lane and Ponton Road with designs by IBI Group architects. The designs have been developed by Wandsworth Council over four years using school design guidance, feedback from planning consultations and review by two independent design panels.
The project was selected as an example of development that contributes to and enhances the vision of London as a city ‘that is sustainable, civilised and egalitarian, that seeks to improve the quality and standards of new design’.
In August, the education-focused design for the new school was unanimously given the green light by Wandsworth Council’s planning committee. Construction will start in time to meet the need for primary school places forecast for 2026 to support the 20,000 new homes being built across the Nine Elms area.
Wandsworth Council’s cabinet member for education and children’s services, Cllr Will Sweet said: “This commendation is a huge vote of confidence in the Council’s vision for high quality education provision and choice for children of all abilities. We worked collaboratively to develop proposals for a school building that serves the whole community, and championed the need for a sustainable design that puts children’s learning at the heart of the development.”
Designed to provide a two-form entry primary school and community facilities within one building, the development is in a prominent location at the western end of the 4.5 hectare linear Nine Elms Park and faces onto the park’s Village Green. Soft landscaping and courtyard wildlife gardens are planned for outdoor play and lesson space, to encourage the children to engage with nature and increase local biodiversity.
The new 4,309sqm school is at the centre of the development, providing a core facility for the growing local community in the immediate catchment area. The capacity is planned to accommodate 420 pupils and 52 nursery pupils.
The nursery is designed as a standalone facility, located alongside the reception classrooms of the school to assist with transition from nursery to the primary school.
To highlight the school and community building at this central location in the park, the external facades will be made of textured reconstituted stone with bronze panels and laser cut coated panels at the entrances and upper levels. The internal courtyard will have light-colour brickwork and stone, with full height glazing at the entrance to provide an amphitheatre space. The building has a target to achieve BREEAM Outstanding.
The 320sqm community/recreation space is intended for use by the local community as well as the school, along with other schools in the borough.
To encourage sustainable travel to and from the site, 56 long-stay cycle parking spaces and 7 short stay spaces are proposed. There will be some limited drop-off and pick-up parking spaces.
NLA’s annual New London Awards is presented in association with the Mayor of London and celebrates all scales of projects, from community-led to large-scale mixed-use developments, both built and unbuilt.