Office / Architect
de Rijke Marsh Morgan / dRMM / Philip Marsh, Alex de Rijke, Sadie Morgan
Mike Hadi Associates , Galliford Try , Cowley Structural Timber , SHS Structure , Vector Special Projects , Fulcrum Consulting , Atelier van Lieshout
London / United Kingdom
The radical transformation of Kingsdale School, London SE21 now nears completion of first phases. This landmark project stems from a sustained collaboration of pupils, staff, Headteacher Steve Morrison and his senior management team, the LEA and dRMM architects design team. Working with contractor Galliford Try these stakeholders have brought about the transformation of the school, both educationally and architecturally. Kingsdale, which was listed as a special measures school in 2001, has shown a dramatic improvement in performance according to Southwark Education.

The DfES described the project as ‘setting new standards for education architecture’.
Icon magazine critic Kieran Long said: “There is little doubt that this is the most important school building completed in Britain in a very long time.”

These are the first major phases of the DfES/Southwark-funded project that focuses on the relation between powerful school architecture and improved learning. The 1960s Leslie Martin (as in Festival Hall) building has been transformed by the addition of the world’s largest variable-skin ETFE roof, creating an internal courtyard space which in turn houses an impressive geodesic auditorium.
The new 3200m2 steel and inflatable etfe roof was installed in 6 weeks using mountain climbers. The new auditorium features a double-walled geodesic structure consisting of 1552 computer-cut birch plywood panels.

The work at Kingsdale School was initiated by Lucy Musgrave at the Architecture Foundation as an RIBA competition, and then developed as a SchoolWorks project. dRMM’s team of consultants includes Michael Hadi Associates (structural engineers); Fulcrum Consulting (mechanical and electrical engineers), and Appleyard & Trew (cost consultants). The main contractor is Galliford Try. Specialist sub-contractors include Vector Special Projects (for the ETFE roof) and SH Structures (roof steelwork.

This marks the end of an exciting year at de Rijke Marsh Morgan in which the practice has won seven awards including the London Building of the Year for their Centaur St office/apartment building, and was also named by the DfES as one of the practices chosen to create an ‘Exemplar’ design for its the Schools for the Future programme.
Long Section
Auditorium and students ©Alex de Rijke
New Auditorium and ETFE roof ©Alex de Rijke
Auditorium interior ©Michael Mack
Courtyard stairs ©Alex de Rijke
Classroom, corridor and office ©Alex de Rijke
ETFE Roof ©Alex de Rijke
Concept cartoon