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Bow School

Completing LBTH's Building Schools for the Future programme, the new school provides great facilities for 1600 pupils, in 3 blocks around a landscaped playground facing the Limehouse Cut.


van Heyningen and Haward Architects



Bow School, 44 Twelvetrees Crescent E3 3QW

Sat 10am-1pm. Informal tours will be run on a regular basis.



108, 488, 323, 309

  • Architect on site
  • Access for wheelchair users
  • Green features
  • Refreshments available
  • Toilets available

BOW SCHOOL GeneralNew nine form entry co-educational secondary school being delivered by Bouygues UK for the London Borough of Tower Hamlets BSF programme. It will have a large federated Sixth Form, and an overall student population of about 1600. Final school in the council_s Building Schools for the Future programme, replacing the existing Bow School, allowing the school to become co-educational and providing necessary extra capacity and fit-for-purpose teaching and learning facilities. SiteThe design responds to its site adjacent to the A12 Blackwall Tunnel Northern Approach, a location which gives challenging access, acoustic and air quality issues and has recently been designated a conservation area. It does, however, benefit from fantastic views over Bow Locks and the Limehouse Cut, as well as longer views south to Canary Wharf and north to the Olympic Park. As a result of a detailed design process, and thorough consultation with the Authority and the School, we have achieved an innovative approach to providing education facilities, including good quality sports provision, on a limited site.FormThe form of the building is derived from the need to bridge a large underground sewer, avoid an underground EHV cable and accommodate three MUGAs at roof level. Centrally placed large spaces, sports hall, dance and drama studios and atria allow a deep plan, with teaching rooms wrapping around the perimeter. The main block to the north is joined by a covered external link to the stand-alone assembly and dining halls, defining a gently sloping landscape facing the canal to the East, and creating a compact service zone for vehicles at the south of the site. The landscape proposals retain the good trees on the site, and create a mixture of activity zones that will appeal to all students and can be used for play, rest and teaching and learning.Ease of use and simplicity of navigation.External areas are maximised and grouped into one generous well-proportioned shape. Each building is linked by an external, covered, walkway. A main _fat block_ with large spaces and atria placed centrally in the plan replaces double-loaded corridors with open circulation, good daylighting and clear views across the building. The separate Dining and Assembly Halls provide spaces for gathering large numbers of pupils, theatre facilities, allow staggered dining without disruption to teaching, and flexible community use.Colour is used imaginatively within the buildings to aid way-finding and orientation that does not differentiate between users.Sport and CommunityThe reception atrium provides a foyer space, central to the school, resolving entry from both sides of the building in a single space and also providing access to the sports hall and studios. An external hard court at ground level, and three roof level MUGA pitches accommodate football, tennis, netball, hockey, handball and rugby training. Community use of the sports facilities (including the three MUGAs on the roof) and studios, dining and assembly halls, is available out-of-hours, with the zoning and wayfinding carefully designed to make this as easy as possible for the School to manage. SustainabilityThe school is designed to be BREEAM Excellent and achieve a 60% reduction in CO2 emissions over Part L.__a real accomplishment for all involved and is testament to the close working relationships that have been fostered throughout the process._ Architect appointment: May 2011Start on site: May 2012 Completion (programmed): May 2014 Client: Bouygues UK Contract Value: œ30m