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Jestico + Whiles wins planning for new academy

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Jestico + Whiles has been given the green light for this new academy in the heart of the 1960s Abbey Wood estate in south-east London.

The St Paul's Academy in Greenwich - the first specialist academy in the borough - will replace an existing, dilapidated secondary school and cater for 1,200 children aged from 11 to 16.

The two-storey scheme includes improved sporting facilities, a larger recreation space and new resources for the local community.

Explaining the design, a spokesman for the practice said: 'It was felt important, particularly given its location at the far end of the site, that the academy should appear as a single entity, defining and containing space positively, rather than a collection of several buildings, typified by the existing Abbey Wood school, which, on an open site such as this, can allow external space to spill out around it.'

The development is arranged around a covered gallery from which the six separate learning areas can be accessed. At the end of this loggia is the heart of the school - the general assembly room.

The building is naturally ventilated, and uses thermal mass and a night-time cooling strategy to reduce heat build-up.

Initially during construction both the academy and the original Abbey Wood Secondary School will share the same site until the old school building is demolished.

The project is due on site in early 2006 and is expected to open its door to students in mid-2007.

by Richard Waite

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