Work / Education

Through close collaboration with the schools that we work with, the studio produces learning environments which are not only fit for purpose, but have also proven to significantly improve the way in which students learn. We try to be innovative wherever possible whilst remaining practical so that the schools we build will last well into the future. By running workshops with the schools, we ensure that a user-focused design is met and that our clients have maximum input at every stage. Our client-led, design-led ethos ensures that high quality architecture is always achieved with great consideration for the end user.

Our involvement in the Building Schools for the Future programme as client-design advisors has put us at the forefront of the profession in terms of up-to-date government policy and implementation. We have worked both in the public and private sectors, mainstream and special schools, working closely both with councils, schools, parents and pupils.

The studio has won multiple awards for its work in the education sector, such as The Courtyard  which won a Civic Trust Award in 2011 for ‘excellence in design, sustainability, universal design principles and positive community and environmental impact’. 

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  • George Spicer Primary School

  • Client: Enfield Council

  • Value: N/A

  • Location: Enfield

  • Surface To Air Architects have been appointed for George Spicer Primary School. This project is part of the delivery of the wider Phase 1 Enfield Primary Expansion Programme. Surface to Air Architects are the Lead Architectural Consultants for five of these projects. 

    The new building for George Spicer comprises of three classroom wings with a central connecting hall space. The single storey building and its external learning landscape and playgrounds create a stimulating environment for the four form entry Early Years Students (Reception, Year 1 and Year 2 pupils). The external cladding is designed from a cherry wood natural veneer, which sets the building comfortably into its natural surroundings. The building was fabricated using off-site construction. The hall was constructed using a pre-fabricated timber structural solution, and the classroom wings were constructed using a volumetric pre-fabricated solution.

    The design was created in collaboration with the school at every design phase through client engagement meetings and workshops.

  • Highfield Primary School

  • Client: Enfield Borough Council

  • Value: £2m

  • Location: Enfield

  • Surface to Air Architects have been appointed for Highfield Primary School. This project is part of the delivery of the wider Phase 1 Enfield Primary Expansion Programme. Surface to Air Architects are the Lead Architectural Consultants for five of these projects. The project brief was to create facilities to enable the school to expand from two form entry to four form entry. The design was created in collaboration with the school at every design phase through client engagement meetings and workshops.

    The new extension to Highfield Primary School comprises of a classroom wing and a generous contemporary new entrance for all school visitors. This new entrance links the new building with the existing Edwardian building. Clear free flow to external space is provided for all nursery and reception classes. The colourful building and landscaped areas create a vibrant new face to Highfield Road. 

  • Edmonton County School

  • Client: Enfield Council

  • Value: N/A

  • Location: Enfield

  • At Edmonton County School, Surface to Air Architects are designing a primary school (two form entry) and new secondary school science and general teaching areas with Willmott Dixon Construction. The project involves a significant three storey new build, and the refurbishment and extension of existing buildings. This project is part of the delivery of the wider Phase 1 Enfield Primary Expansion Programme. Surface to Air Architects are the Lead Architectural Consultants for five of these projects. 

    The design was created in collaboration with the school at every design phase through client engagement meetings and workshops.

  • De Salis Studio College

  • Client: Rosedale Hewens Academy Trust

  • Value: £900,000

  • Location: London Borough of Hillingdon

  • Surface to Air Architects have been commissioned by the Rosedale Hewens Trust to help create a suitable learning environment for the De Salis Studio College. The school will cater for 300 students, aged between 14-19 on the site of an existing school. The brief is to renovate an existing under-utilised building to accommodate specialist subjects in Business and Finance. The school plans to build links in its education programmes with local and global businesses so that students receive a ‘hands-on’ education in Banking, Trading and Law amongst other professions. 

    The design of the school creates free flow open plan home bases, one-to-one pods, a courtroom  with chambers (which can double up as a family court for the local authority), a bank, a live trading floor sponsored by Reuters, a cisco lab, seminar rooms and pitch pods. The brief requires new strategies for access and circulation around the school, whilst remodelling and reviving the existing structure and entrance. Concurrently, Surface to Air has been briefed to create a facade which has a link to the Hewens Primary Free School, expressing the trust’s aim in creating a through-school environment and encourage positive transition from primary to secondary.

  • Hammersmith and Fulham - Client Design Advisors

  • Client: Hammersmith and Fulham Council

  • Value: N/A

  • Location: Hammersmith and Fulham

  • Surface to Air Architects were appointed to act as Client Design Advisor (CDA) for London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham, from the inception of its schools building programme. In this role, Surface to Air performed a range of tasks to help ensure that the schools delivered were of the highest quality. Surface to Air worked with all 13 secondary school in the borough and also a number of primary schools.

    The project brief was to define ways in which the council can develop and achieve its vision of a borough wide campus for learning. This involved liaising directly with the schools and key stakeholders through a consultation process, which includes the delivery of a series of workshops, presentations, seminars and reference site visits in the UK and abroad. Surface to Air worked particularly closely with The Bridge Academy and Sacred Heart High School. We also identify key design issues and educational priorities with individual schools and created the school specific Education and Design Briefs. Our aim was to support the client with our expertise and equip them with the right tools for assessing design quality through the procurement process.

  • Tottenham University Technical College

  • Client: Kier Construction

  • Value: £10m

  • Location: Tottenham

  • Surface to Air were appointed lead architect on Tottenham University Technical College. The school specialises in the technology of science, illustrated through sport and health. The project has been created through a partnership between Tottenham Hotspurs and Middlesex University. The project is located in a newly constructed building located next to Tottenham Hotspur Football Club, Tottenham UTC is part of the twenty acre Northumberland Development project. The new studio school for 900 students between the ages of 14-19 and is housed over two floors of the new Tottenham hotspurs stadium. The brief was to create a school which modelled workplace practice.

    The design is primarily open plan, with floor to ceiling glazing and large superstudio labs. At the centre of the school is the ‘Nexus’ –a multi-faceted projection zone allowing display of digital work, open mic presentations in the forum, marketing presentations in the pitch pod and a business lounge. The services are exposed giving an urban feel and allowing for maximum flexibility in reconfiguration over time. Around the nexus are a series of hubs or enterprise zones.

    The project was completed in August 2014.

    Nominated for an FX International Interior Design Award 2016 

  • The Courtyard

  • Client: London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham

  • Value: £1.3m

  • Location: London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham

  • The Courtyard building brief was to create a new facility to meet the needs of the most vulnerable children in the borough of Hammersmith and Fulham. It houses children who are unable to cope in mainstream primary schools, and are therefore excluded, due to their behavioural, social and emotional difficulties. The students are aged between 4-9 years old. The brief was to co-locate the unit on the Langford Primary School site. The design fuses the listed Victorian Montessori nursery building with a modern new build extension. In 2011 the Courtyard won a Civic Trust Award. It was also short-listed for a RIBA award and a BCSE award.

  • All Saints

  • Client: London Borough of Croydon

  • Value: £0.5m

  • Location: Croydon

  • In 2006, All Saints Infant School federated with All Saints Junior School to create one school run as a single entity. Surface to Air Architects design remodels the entrance to improve visibility, create a more welcoming entrance for the school and encourage interaction between the children and the staff. The design also proposes a new combined central staffroom located as an infill block. This completes the ‘central spine’ of administration and staff areas joining the two schools into one. This well proportioned and naturally lit space will be a comfortable place where staff can meet together, exchange ideas and prepare their work. Through the manipulation of light, colour and texture, the building intends to inspire its users; and through its architecture, exemplify the unified brand of the newly federated school.

  • Hurlingham and Chelsea Secondary School

  • Client: London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham

  • Value: £1.2m

  • Location: London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham

  • Hurlingham and Chelsea is a comprehen­sive, co-educational school where there are currently 500+ students on the school roll with capacity for a maximum of 900.

    Refurbishment and extension works to the school were required to provide a new, welcoming entrance for the school and the local community. Surface to Air was also commissioned to build a new community library in which the school and the community were brought together. The design for the new extension and refurbishment works are of a high quality, and successfully complement the surrounding buildings in the conservation area.

    In a second phase of works, we were appointed by the school for a 1,350sqm refurbishment of the corridor and circulation spaces within their secondary school facilities in Parsons Green. The works set out to remodel the circulation spaces; widening the hallway and improve the acoustics of the associated areas. The refurbishment also included the renovation of the school’s main hall and a double height entrance & atrium space.

  • Holy Cross School

  • Client: Diocese of Westminster and London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham

  • Value: £5m

  • Location: Hammersmith and Fulham

  • Surface to Air were appointed as the Architect to develop a scheme to provide a new five form entry primary school building on Peterborough Road. The new school building will house Holy Cross Primary School, Ecole Marie d’Orliac and also a jointly managed bilingual school. The proposal aims to create a harmonious working and learning environment that reflects the core values of the two schools as well as celebrating the unique setting of joint French and English schooling.  The design concept was to create a modern high quality main school hall and glass entrance cloister to link to the listed Victorian school house. The existing building will be sensitively refurbished. There will be a new central atrium to be cut through all three floor plates to connect the school visually. The client brief was for the project design to reflect the excellence of the educational offer, while enhancing the special character and appearance of the context in which the school is set.  

  • Harrow SEN Expansion

  • Client: London Borough of Harrow

  • Value: N/A

  • Location: Harrow

  • Surface to Air Architects were appointed to act as the Architect for Harrow Council to assess the capacity of their county-wide portfolio of Special Educational Need schools. We subsequently produced a series of feasibilities for all five SEN schools in the borough.

    Surface to Air helped to define ways in which the council could adapt and extend their existing building stock to meet the requirements of their expected future occupancy. It involved liaising directly with the schools and key stakeholders through a consultation process, which includes the delivery of a series of workshops, presentations and site visits.

  • Ark Academy Wembley

  • Client: Ark Academy

  • Value: £2.4m

  • Location: Wembley

  • Surface to Air have been appointed to design and deliver a new sixth form expansion to the existing primary and secondary Ark Academy school in Wembley. Located on a tight corner site, the proposed building provides all the facilities required for a 2FE sixth form within a compact two storey 1300sqm extension. This notably includes specialist teaching facilities, a large performance hall as well as a gallery and social spaces.

    Due to active conservation policies on the site, the development includes a thoroughly considered landscaping strategy that enhances biodiversity, green pathways and existing habitat.

  • Bridge Academy

  • Client: N/A

  • Value: N/A

  • Location: N/A

  • Surface to Air have worked closely with the Bridge Academy over the last six years. Firstly to develop their vision/brief as an indi­vidual school and then secondly, as the lead school as part of the Tri-borough Alternative Provision (Kensington and Chelsea, West­minster and Hammersmith and Fulham). The Bridge Academy is a pupil referral unit that caters for up to 175 young learners, girls and boys aged 11 to 16 who have been excluded from mainstream school. Through BSF the Bridge was to accommodate 150 learners and was commissioned to establish a support programme for 25 post 16 learners in partnership with other providers. Its inclusive philosophy was a key aspect in our collabora­tion with the school.

    Through close consultation with the school, Surface to Air wrote the Bridge Academy’s ‘strategy for change’, suggesting new strate­gies for learning environments which would directly improve the education of its students. A key target was to provide a broadly balanced curriculum relevant to individual needs and a school which could facilitate this. 

  • Tri-Borough Alternative Provision

  • Client: Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, City of Westminster Council and London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham

  • Value: £15m

  • Location: Kensington and Chelsea

  • Surface to Air developed the original Bridge Academy brief into a wide scope to encompass the Tri-borough Provision for Kensington and Chelsea, Westminster and Hammersmith and Fulham. The new centre will provide a ‘one stop shop’ for alternative education and pastoral support to 164 learners. These students will come from across the Tri-borough. The facilities will also provide support to the student’s families and care providers. The facility will be open for use by the wider community.

    We worked closely with all three boroughs as well as staff and students at the school to create a design brief, which catered for all the needs that the school required. Our feasibility work focused on a number of sites across the three boroughs to provide a high quality, responsive and flexible environment that meets the academic, emotional and aspirational needs of students who are experiencing difficulty with mainstream school.

  • Ecole Jacques Prevert

  • Client: Governing Body of Ecole Jacques Prevert

  • Value: £1m

  • Location: Kensington and Chelsea

  • The Ecole Jacques Prevert is an independent French primary school which has been situated on Brook Green in the London Borough of Hammersmith & Fulham for just over 30 years. An extension of the school is required to provide improved teaching facilities and to accommodate new students. Following discussions with the council, it was proposed that the school use the airspace above the adjacent Aynhoe car park to home the extension. The car park, which is council owned, would remain in use and the school extension will be built above. A full height gate has been integrated in the design, which allows deliveries and access for emergency vehicles. Pedestrians will enter the extension through a separated entrance door. The new design for the extension compliments the appearance of Aynhoe road and the high quality architecture around it.

  • The Penthouse

  • Client: London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham

  • Value: £250,000

  • Location: Hammersmith and Fulham

  • With the co-location of the Social Emotional Behavioural Difficulties (SEBD) Unit (a school for student aged 4-9 excluded from Primary School education) onto the Langford Primary School site, additional space was required within Langford Primary School's estate to accommodate the outreach staff team from the SEBD Unit. The space chosen to house them was located on the top floor of the main school building; this space was originally internalised, dark and unwelcoming. The design concept was to re-engage the space within its context by creating a mezzanine. This new space opened up the view across to Chelsea and Fulham, and created a flexible open-plan work zone, flooded with natural light.

     

  • Southfields

  • Client: Willmott Dixon

  • Value: £25m

  • Location: Wandsworth

  • The design brief for Southfields Community College was to develop a scheme that provided excellent engagement with the local community. Our design simplifies the estate into a series of clearly defined buildings interlinked to create a ribbon of learning across the site. Along Merton Road and Burr Road we created a series of 'lanterns of learning' to attract the community in. The first of which is the entrance to the building, incorporating entrance foyer, reception and LRC facilities to the ground floor. This block is the cornerstone of the concept for the massing of the building. A substantial new addition on the most prominent part of the site will give the building civic presence and enable it to fully engage with the community. The subsequent 'lanterns' are in-filled new lightweight glazed elements to the existing courtyards, projecting proud of the existing adjacent blocks. This gives the vocational facilities the much desired transparency that they currently lack. It also increases the profile of the vocational functions within the community. 

  • The Rotunda

  • Client: Slough Council

  • Value: £1m

  • Location: Slough

  • The Rotunda was a dark and dilapidated pupil referral unit, with real architectural potential, but had languished in poor condition for many years. A leaky roof, broken windows with metal bars, a defunct heating system and undrinkable tap water completed the picture. It was of no surprise to see children riding their bikes through and breaking what they could. Surface to Air were enlisted to help produce a renovation and refurbishment programme which would create a sensitive and suitable environment for the provision of a complex and detailed curriculum.

    The existing building was typical of many pupil referral units – claustrophobic and prison-like, with little light or colour. The design strategy was to create the opposite - make the building accessible, light, colourful and modern but still secure, flexible and durable. In order to support the complex and varied timetable, and allow for adaptation over time, the circular plane was simplified into a clear hierarchy of spaces – from an informal teaching/’time-out’ space by the door to the Art Garden, through more formal small group rooms to the larger spaces for art and music and finally the multiuse drum space. Overall, a sense of calm and light pervades the building to help both students and staff feel safe, connected and enthused.

  • Sacred Heart School

  • Client: London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham

  • Value: £5m

  • Location: Hammersmith and Fulham

  • Surface to Air were appointed by Sacred Heart School to support the school’s expansion to include an additional form of entry through 11-16 and a 6th form of 300 pupils. This high-performing, all girls, Catholic comprehensive school not only requires additional teaching space but indoor sports facilities also. Acknowledging the Grade II* listed status of the existing school buildings and the site’s location within a Conservation Area, the school seeks to build a new high quality extension on site. This would allow the school to offer its recognised high quality teaching to the greater number of pupils enrolling to the school. Any new extension would also have the potential to serve the community during off hours.

  • Camden - Client Design Advisors

  • Client: London Borough of Camden

  • Value: N/A

  • Location: Camden

  • Surface to Air Architects were appointed to act as Client Design Advisor (CDA) for the London Borough of Camden, from the inception of the BSF programme through to its completion, performing a range of tasks to help ensure that the schools delivered were of the highest quality.

    We helped to define ways in which the council could develop and achieve its vision of a borough wide campus for learning. This involved liaising directly with the schools and key stakeholders through a consultation process, which included the delivery of a series of workshops, presentations, seminars and reference site visits in the UK and abroad. We also identified key design issues and educational priorities with individual schools and created the school specific Education and Design Briefs. Our aim was to support the client with our expertise and equip them with the right tools for assessing design quality through the procurement process.

  • Hillingdon - Client Design Advisor

  • Client: London Borough of Hillingdon

  • Value: N/A

  • Location: Hillingdon

  • Surface to Air Architects were appointed to act as Client Design Advisor (CDA) for London Borough of Hillingdon, from the inception of its schools building programme through to its completion, performing a range of tasks to help ensure that the schools delivered were of the highest quality. We worked with all secondary school in the borough and a number of primary schools. We helped to define ways in which the council could develop and achieve its vision of a borough wide campus for learning. This involved liaising directly with the schools and key stakeholders through a consultation process, which included the delivery of a series of workshops, presentations, seminars and reference site visits in the UK and abroad. We worked particularly closely with Rosedale College, Abbotsfield and Swakeley’s School. We also identified key design issues and educational priorities with individual schools and created the school specific Education and Design Briefs. Our aim was to support the client with our expertise and equip them with the right tools for assessing design quality through the procurement process.

  • Global UTC Academy

  • Client: Global Radio

  • Value: £N/A

  • Location: Hillingdon

  • Surface to Air architects have recently completed full architectural services for the new Global Academy UTC in Hillingdon, London. Global Academy UTC will provide 800 places for 14-19 year old students to learn a wide variety of technical skills required by the media industry including studio operation and production, broadcasting, programming, computer science and digital engineering technologies. Global Academy UTC specialises in Creative, Technical and Digital Media and Entrepreneurship shaped by the needs of enterprises such as Global Media and the University of the Arts. 

    The college will be fitted with high-tech specialist TV Studios, TV/radio facilities, radio/ broadcasting facilities and music/ sound recording facilities. It will also benefit from a 3x badminton court sports hall (the intention is to extend the use of this sports facility to the local community), secure external dining area and two large theatre spaces.  This will be in conjunction with the core academic curriculum.

     

    Surface to Air aim to create a modern and inspiring learning environment for our students both internally and externally of the building. The building will be arranged over 4 floors and designed around a large roof lit atrium creating dynamic internal circulation spaces and provides the college with good passive supervision which is integral to the college’s pedagogical ethos.

    Shortlisted in for an FX International Design Award

    Nominated for Offiste Project of the Year, Building Awards

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