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Location: Enfield, London

Client: Willmott Dixon / Cuckoo Hall Academies Trust (CHAT)

Value: £17m

Status: Completed 2016

Heron Hall Academy

Heron Hall Academy entailed the refurbishment, remodelling and extension of a redundant, partly derelict 1930’s Grade II listed technical college building for new use as a secondary school.

Through careful and considered analysis of the existing buildings, ArchitecturePLB developed a design strategy that made the previously unaffordable project viable.

Our alternative solution retained and restored the majority of the original listed building but replaced the original single-storey workshops, which were in a very poor state of repair and not ideally suited for school use, for replacement with a new three-storey teaching wing. This proposal, while inherently more costly, released additional land for residential development and was thus self-funding, allowing new, purpose-built accommodation for dining and specialist teaching.

The new wing is sensitively designed to reflect and respond to the original Scandinavian influenced art-deco buildings. Materials including brick and ceramic tile were chosen to complement the original fabric, while ribbon windows were used to reflect the proportions and horizontal emphasis of the adjacent listed building.

Another key element of our proposals was the removal of poor quality infill extensions, allowing the re-creation of the original southern courtyard and the reinstatement of the building’s design ‘parti’ and formal plan arrangement. The new courtyard creates additional external play space and brings daylight and sunshine back into the heart of the building along with views to the outside and improved

Our alternative strategy for development won the support of Historic England and rescued a high quality listed building from dereliction and decay, providing a valuable new community facility with a viable long term future.