Regent High School, a 1,300 pupil secondary school, was part of Camden Council’s regeneration plan. The project involved part demolition and refurbishment, as well as significant new build, and now includes large outdoor learning and community spaces that create a safe and inviting learning environment.
The existing school consisted of several different buildings, including the old Victorian school house. However these buildings were no longer fit for purpose. They created dark, enclosed and indirect circulation routes and lacked quality outdoor learning environments. BAM engaged with the school and local authority to re-plan the site and deliver an award-winning building.
Through the selective demolition and retention of the existing buildings, BAM created a series of interconnected and easy to navigate spaces positioned around a central landscaped court.
The BAM design team took advantage of the Victorian building’s height and built a new triple-height atrium space to link the different elements of the school. BAM also changed the original entrance to the school, using the new atrium as an imposing entrance, which has been a great success.
The project has won multiple awards, including a Civic Trust Award in 2017, a RIBA London Award, RIBA National Award and a RIBA London Sustainability Award in 2016, and a Camden Design Award in 2015.
Won multiple awards
The entire school now benefits from natural light; timber bays reduce solar gain while also creating a natural looking external façade. This complements the landscaped court at the centre of the school which provides outdoor learning environments and social spaces for the pupils.
The natural environment was an important aspect of the design, with careful landscaping providing a variety of outdoor spaces with different characteristics for different uses. Sensory planted beds, ecological planting around the borders, bird boxes and trees give a connection to nature. An open swale and a dipping pond provides visible management of rainwater.
Careful planning has created outdoor learning spaces
Tackling climate change
Several measures contribute to the efficient use of energy within the building. An electric heat pump provides 90% of the building’s annual space heat demands with the balance provided by condensing boilers, achieving an emission rating significantly lower than the Building Regulations at the time of development in 2006.
A high efficiency heat recovery system is linked to the mechanical ventilation systems, the domestic hot water system cylinders are super insulated, and all lights automatically respond to daylight and absence. The natural gas boilers were selected with low NOx emissions, while a ground source heat pump system heats and cools water using the earth’s underground temperature.
134 roof-mounted photovoltaic panels also provide an estimated annual output of 31,000kWh.
Low NOx target for the heating system
The site took part in the UK Contractors Group (UKCG) Open Doors event, which sees construction sites across the country open their doors to members of the public for site tours. To support this initiative, the project team gave site tours to local members of the public, as well young people interested in learning more about careers in construction. More than 90 primary school children were able to visit the site and took part in construction related activities.
Participated in the national initiative, Open Doors Weekend
Supporting the school
Delivering a new school project was the perfect opportunity to raise the profile of careers within the construction industry. The project team developed a close working relationship with Regent High School and were able to work with them to offer a variety of opportunities.
The site team regularly gave project presentations, hosted sustainability debate days, helped the school to deliver a ‘scrap heap challenge’ activity for their creativity week and held regular site tours and visits.
BAM also helped students prepare for the world of work by getting involved in the school’s work experience week and careers fairs. The team held interview days, delivered one day workshops on the importance of language within a business context, hosted a speed networking days for girls interested in the construction industry, ran employment workshops and offered a student placement for work experience.
Engaged with the school through presentations,
workshops, site visits and more