Harpley PRU works with a wide range of students with special educational needs and caters for secondary pupils from across Tower Hamlets with behavioural and learning difficulties. The project involved the remodelling of an existing three-storey Edwardian school building and the creation of a new sports’ hall. The 2-badminton court hall is clad in a striking, ‘chameleon’ rainscreen.
The objectives were to improve the quality of both internal and external spaces to help inspire and motivate the students to lead a healthy lifestyle, re-engage them in learning, maximise collaborative working and raise standards of achievement.
The formation of a new internal three storey light well and media hall within the existing building enhances internal access, improves visual connectivity and passive supervision and acts as a new heart of the school. It came about as a direct response to the Head Teacher’s view that ‘to lift up one’s head physically’ literally helped students to raise their eyes above their current circumstances.
The overall design intention reflected the highly specialised method of teaching and learning at Harpley PRU. From the new internal lightwell in the remodelled existing building, to the unique cladding on the new sports hall, when combined together, the result is uplifting, dynamic and memorable.