Planning permission has been granted for the refurbishment and extension of the Grade II Listed Bromley Hall School building in London Borough of Tower Hamlets to meet the much needed demand for primary pupil places across the Borough. The proposals will see the School become a 420 pupil Primary School with Nursery Facilities.
This is an extremely interesting building of the late 1960s, and was one of the first purpose built schools in the country for children with special needs. It was widely published in the architectural press and was met with positive acclaim.
The classrooms and group spaces are designed as independent forms with glazed circulation corridors in between. Each of the classrooms are defined by elegant and dynamic roof forms with rooflights providing a well-lit soft light and permitting passive ventilation. The combination of these distinctive roofscapes, was the major contributor to the architectural character and the reason for the listing.
A well-crafted new build pavilion for Early Years pupils, inspired by the qualities of the existing building, will be positioned to the rear of the site with dedicated play areas. The design adopts a simple form clad in a dark grey brick in order to relate to its protected heritage context and convey a restrained and respectful architectural character. Colour to the window reveals and rooflights inject a playfulness appropriate to its use.
In cognisance of the original roof forms, the new build classrooms will also benefit from top natural light and the expressive, coloured metal finished rooflights create a sculptural roofscape as a link to the existing building. This gives a continuation between the old and the new while incorporating modern construction techniques for the new building.
As the building has been vacant for many years, substantial repairs and improvements will be be made to the existing fabric and site in order to bring the premises back into use. The existing fabric to the building will be upgraded and the retained building is targeted to achieve BREEAM ‘Very Good’, with the stand alone new build to be ‘Excellent’.
Low energy design solutions have been fundamental drivers for the orientation and layout of the new build early years scheme through the choice of construction materials, the proposed structural and drainage strategy and the way the building is heated and ventilated.
Proposals encompass extensive landscaping and new playgrounds. The curved boundary walls are a key feature of the original design, creating a protective environment. These round forms will be retained and enhanced in the new landscaping design.
With early input from heritage consultants the care and attention to retaining and enhancing the original design features, combined with the sensitive high quality design of the new build won the support of the planning officers, 20th Century Society and heritage committee.