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Monday, June 27, 2022

Tower Hamlets school completes

The redevelopment of Raine??s Foundation School in Bethnal Green, East London, has reached a significant milestone with the completion of its brand new building which officially opened last week.

The £22m school commissioned by Tower Hamlets Council, built by Bouygues UK, part of the Bouygues Construction group, and designed by Astudio, combines contemporary new build with the refurbishment of the existing Grade II listed Victorian school building.

Built under the former government??s Building Schools for the Future programme, the new school overcomes the constraints of a compact inner city site in a conservation area to design a vibrant yet sensitive extension to the Victorian school building, which can now accommodate 750 pupils aged11 to 18. 

The new design balances the civic scale and impact of the building on the street with a large range of internal spaces designed to meet modern teaching styles.  The result is a dramatic and elegant contemporary school.

Alongside a full internal refurbishment of the existing listed building, the project adds modern flexible teaching spaces, which are wrapped around a four storey day-lit teaching space, providing places for individual study at the heart of the building. The circulation of the pupils in the large four storey volume adds to the buildings animation in use, as well as promotes good behaviour. A new library, carefully fitted into an existing external courtyard of the listed school, helps to bring the old and the new together. A roof top science garden and play area increases the outside space.

The design creates a striking contrast between the existing and new buildings.  The selection of dark metric brick for the new facades facing the street, provides a juxtaposition to the local vernacular of London stock bricks yet sits comfortably within the character of the conservation area.  Again, following Victorian traditions a bold white rear façade reflects light towards the playground.

The new build element, as a counterpoint to the Victorian building, is separated by a large two storey glazed box providing a dramatic entrance to the school, screening the existing dilapidated rear façade, and inventively creating the library space out of an old courtyard.  Large floor to ceiling windows run adjacent to the street lined with large London Plane trees, giving the feeling that classrooms are set within the trees and provide shading from the sun.








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