East Barnet School, London


This project to build an innovative four storey Secondary School in North London posed several challenges due to its location on a sloping site with split-levels.

We were appointed by Vinci Construction to design an innovative solution within the site constraints. First of all we proposed the use of lean post tensioned floor plates. This enabled us to reduce material quantities, building loadings and allow clear open teaching spaces with minimal columns. A two storey, 18m wide auditorium was also created using post tensioned transfer beams, which was completed under budget and well within the timescale. Due to the sloping nature of the site, extensive earth modelling was carried out to balance the excavations and avoid the removal of soil.
Helping design the school was an inspiring and creative process. East Barnet school is part of the Project Faraday initiative, incorporating several state of the art learning areas including the ‘drop zone’ – for testing gravity, flight and other scientific concepts – and the ’60 year clock’ a large exhibit structure requiring space and natural light. Other features included the striking feature walls, cantilevered above the building and internal sports hall and gymnasium spaces. The surface water system also added educational value, incorporating sustainable ‘swales’ and a ‘knowledge garden’ used as a learning aid for pupils.

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Key Facts

  • Client: Vinci Construction
  • Location: North London
  • Year: 2009

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