Work / Greatfields School
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Surface to Air Architects have been appointed to design the new £40 million Greatfields School in East London, after winning an architectural competition against high profile practices such as Allies & Morrison and PTE. The 3FE primary school is part of zone one completed in December 2017 with further zones due for completion for the September 2019 school intake.


Located in the former Gascoigne Estate in Barking centre, the development forms part of the wider Allies & Morrison-designed Weavers Quarter masterplan, and includes a 700-pupil primary school and 1,800-pupil secondary school. The site is located at the heart of a dense urban area and high profile regeneration scheme with significance to the public realm. Surface to Air have designed an inspirational environment for learning which meets the education vision of the school and the needs of the local area. 


Brick and metal cladding provide a robust but soft appearance with columns and projections, framing groups of windows into an understandable form. A weaving pattern of undulating brick knits itself through the frames paying homage to the weavers’ quarter and industrial heritage. Carefully toned bricks across all phases of the development to create a harmonious composition between zones, and plaza porticos create a cohesive external approach, integrating with the site and enhancing the schools presence in the community.


Internally, the design is focused on flexible spaces that promote learning, individual study and collaboration. The design champions the use of an innovative SIPS panel solution allowing us to maximise efficiency on site whilst delivering a quality building on time and one budget.


The scheme is due for completion in 2020.

  • Client: London Borough of Barking and Dagenham

  • Value: £40.6m

  • Location: Barking

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