ULLA TERVO London Metropolitan University Breaking the cage (Humanising the Institution): A secondary school on London Fields in Hackney Tutors: David Grandorge and Matthew Barnett-Howland The project is a design for a secondary school sited at the southern edge of London Fields, forming an educational campus in conjunction with the adjacent existing primary school and nursery. Tervo used a single, deep-plan block as a starting point for the project of deinstitutionalising the institutional or, metaphorically, 'breaking the cage'. The school is conceived as an institutional cage that is cut into analogously and physically in an attempt to humanise the environment in which children can learn and interact. Internal and external voids combine to allow for the movement of air, the modelling of light and a series of complex spatial relationships. A layered facade of glass and steel mesh curtains acts as a counterpoint to the order of the overall composition.
The project consciously attempts to find a balance between the various, observed extremes: the 'institutional' and the humane; the natural and the artificial; repetition and difference; the physical reality of the park and the virtual reality of the advertisements and signs of the surrounding cityscape; hidden and revealed views; robust and delicate materials; the universal and the particular and, not least importantly, the theoretical and the practical.