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Haverstock gives new lease of life to dilapitated Islington school

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The new Moreland school colourfully declares its presence to the estate

The former Moreland School, located on the King Square Estate, was designated as one of Islington’s most dilapidated school premises. Given the premium of space within Islington, the new school was built within the site of the current school, filling in a gap that existed between the school itself and the street in a move that not only provided vital new space but also gave the school a renewed civic presence. Works were undertaken with the school in full occupation throughout, requiring collaboration and consultation with a varied stakeholder group.

The new £10.3 million school accommodates a 2FE intake (420 pupils in total), 56-place nursery and a children’s centre, and school includes recreation, training and support facilities designed and mapped to meet the needs of the local residents, making the new school a much welcomed community resource.

The building identifies itself within a new and important public realm and introduces a new street frontage to Moreland Street, softening an imposing brick façade with coloured fins. Yellow balustrades allow for a sense of openness while maintaining the school’s privacy from the surrounding estate. 

Moreland primary school 6 jim stephenson

Moreland primary school 6 jim stephenson

Source: Jim Stephenson

Architect’s view

Moreland Street has a context of very robust, medium height buildings, tight against the pavement edge, creating a strong urban presence. Whilst the old school sat back from this building line and did not express a street presence, the new school design is bold and infills this missing gap, giving a building with civic presence and celebrating itself as part of the urban grain. The site also has a half storey fall across the site and this has resulted in an innovative solution of levels and internal organisation.

The high quality, robust, brick façade was a reaction to the important siting of the new building within Islington. It adds a richness of quality to the urban fabric and gives Moreland Street a new street frontage – it is not afraid to interact with the street, as is sometimes the first reaction when designing a sensitive building such as a primary school. It is a brave design. From the outset, the aesthetic of the building strived to have a civic language and presence, through colourful fins, while still expressing the playful nature of a primary school setting.

The younger years’ classrooms are located on the ground level to allow direct access to the excellent hard landscaped play spaces beyond. The building hugs these external spaces to provide courtyards protecting the students from urban noise and overlooking from neighbouring buildings. The semi-courtyards also contain measures to reduce noise disturbance to the neighbours. To maximise the external spaces of the site, the design creatively allows for extensive and exciting roof terrace spaces. Theses terraces give more external space on the tight urban site, but also allows quick access to external provision for the upper floors.

The client had a high environmental agenda and has achieved a BREEAM Excellent rating.

Haverstock architects

Moreland primary school sections and elevations haverstock 2

Moreland primary school sections and elevations haverstock 2

Project data

Start on site September 2015

Completion November 2016
Gross internal floor area 3,403m² 
Form of contract or Procurement Route Design and Build
Construction cost £10.3 million
Construction cost per m² £3,025
Architect Haverstock

Client London Borough of Islington

Structural engineer Conisbee

M&E consultant Elementa
Quantity surveyor/cost consultant Morgan Sindall
Acoustic consultant WSP
CDM co-ordinator
 Everitt CDM
Approved building inspector 
London Borough of Islington 
Building Control
Main contractor Morgan Sindall
CAD software used 

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