Mossbourne Community Academy
The ethos of the Academy is to contribute to community learning as well as offering excellent facilities to secondary school students. As a result, the design distributes popular community facilities throughout the scheme rather than concentrating them in one particular area. This approach intentionally erodes the boundaries of the academic and the creative / recreational aspects of learning. The intention is to encourage the community to participate in the activities of the school and in so doing, establish a model for lifetime learning.
In response to the site conditions, the three storey building is conceived as a broad ‘V’ with its back to the railway tracks forming a protective layer to the east and west boundaries that present a constant source of noise, vibrations and a safety hazard from the railway, and sheltering the accommodation from this hostile environment. Teaching and working spaces are concentrated on the inner face of the building, where a new courtyard enclosed by the ‘V’ creates a central focus and identity to the new Academy, while creating a continuous sense of space across Downs Park Road to the park beyond.
The Academy is fully accessible to members of the community with facilities distributed throughout the scheme to erode boundaries between academic and creative or aspirational aspects of learning. A new courtyard links the school to the existing green space of Hackney Downs to create a seamless outdoor play, sport and recreation space.
The simplicity of the diagram represents an instantly legible response to the site conditions. A broad ‘V’ in plan, with its armour-like wall protecting the building from the noise of the railway lines is contrasted with the light-weight timber and glazed teaching spaces looking out over the courtyard and Hackney Downs beyond.
The triangular site for the Academy, previously the location of the derelict Hackney Downs School, is dominated on two sides by railway tracks and as a result is subject to a high degree of noise and vibrations. On the third side, to the north, the site looks out over Hackney Downs, one of the few green spaces in the borough.
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