Beatrice Tate School is a co-educational special school for pupils aged eleven to nineteen with severe or profound and multiple learning difficulties. The school accommodates 75 pupils within a new facility across three floors on a constrained site in Mile End. The design for the new school provides a compact plan with a social hub at the heart of the new school.
Outward facing activity areas are separated from more private teaching clusters and a sense of progression through three key stages is defined by providing each cluster with its own distinct character and ambience. The building also provides state-of-the-art sensory and therapy facilities including a multi-level hydrotherapy pool.
BREEAM Education Award 2015 - Shortlisted
Ventilation + Heat recovery
Innovative cooling system
High efficient façade
District heating scheme
Water-saving sanitary appliances
Low-emitting materials and finishes
High efficient lighting
Green or brown roofs
Outdoor view maximised
Avanti Architects together with the project team set out to deliver a building which delivers a fantastic learning environment for special needs pupils together with excellent energy and sustainability performance. The school provides uplifting, well daylight space, which uses its compact urban site cleverly to incorporate soft and hard landscape including sensory and horticultural garden areas and a site arrangement which creates an open and welcoming relationship to the street and community. The layout is based around an innovative multi-purpose social hub for dining, gatherings and performance. The view from frontage to rear play areas through the hub is completely open with learning clusters arranged around to promote natural wayfinding. All the specialist teaching areas face the street with the elevation animated by semi-opaque glass louvre panels against white render. A crisp dark brick plinth anchors the building composition, rising to double height in the sports and hydrotherapy pool wings.
The sustainability targets achieved include a 60% reduction on Building Regulations 2006 (also exceeding 2010 standards), and a high BREEAM ‘Excellent’ score of 80.47%. The project was shortlisted in the BREEAM Awards 2015.
The design approach follows the energy hierarchy ‘be lean, be clean, be green’ with excellent thermal fabric efficiency, use of combined heat and power, photovoltaic panels and heat recovery with air source heat pumps. The following environmental strategies were adopted:
U values of wall 0.15, roof 0.12, floor 0.15, Glazing 1.6
Low and zero carbon:
60 kW(t) CHP capable of providing a minimum output of 30kW(t). This is particularly beneficial as waste heat is used or the hydrotherapy pool.
Permeability/air leakage – 3 m3/m2/hr
160 m2 of PV panels
A biodiverse sedum roof is included as well as extensive tree planting and greening, including a sensory garden planted with tactile and fragrant plants.
Ventilation and thermal comfort
Good levels of thermal comfort are important. Also given high acoustic standards for those with hearing impairment, mechanical ventilation was adopted, together with heat recovery and air source heat pumps. With the high level of air tightness, this ensures excellent energy performance coupled with good levels of comfort.
Concrete soffits are exposed in all classrooms to enhance thermal performance and also raise window head heights to benefit from better daylight penetration. Particular care regarding services coordination is required to avoid visual clutter as exposed fittings and services include radiant heat panels, mobility hoists, lighting and fire safety systems.
Light and views
Window placement was carefully considered to offer views for all including low-level windows for those in wheelchairs. Daylight levels are high – in excess of 25 daylight factor throughout with many areas benefiting from higher levels.
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Annual carbon footprint:
20.81 KgCO2m² (223.997 KgCO2/ft²)
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No product info available
London Borough of Tower Hamlets
Building services engineer:
Green certification consultant:
Nathaniel Lichfield and Partners
Amec Foster Wheeler
No other project by team
BREEAM 2008 UK Education Excellent