ARK Putney Academy

The project at ARK Putney Academy was a complete refurbishment, which aimed to create an inspiring environment suitable for modern teaching at Wandsworth’s most improved secondary school. The Grade II-listed building, designed in the early 1950s by G A Trevett of the London County Council, has been described by English Heritage as ‘perhaps the finest of the large comprehensive schools built by the London County Council architects’.

ARK Putney Academy (previously Elliott School) has been at the heart of the community since 1956. The renovation designed by architects Hawkins\Brown remodelled internal areas and created a new four-court Sports Hall to the latest Sports England standards, adjacent to the listed buildings. Glazing was replaced to improve temperature and energy management and brighter, more spacious and well-equipped classrooms were built.

For Skelly & Couch, the EPC ‘A’-rated project involved a site-wide energy strategy for the school, with practical and technical design advice on phasing and the provision of temporary school buildings, to ensure the school curriculum was maintained in temporary accommodation on site. Skelly & Couch also devised an energy strategy for the adjoining new build residential development.

In close consultation with numerous stakeholders, the firm led a detailed process of negotiations and procurement of phased and temporary utility supplies to support the higher loads of the refurbished building. It also negotiated with planners to provide alternative approaches for site-wide energy performance to those set out in the London Plan, designing services which both embrace the modern curriculum and respect the existing structure.

Extensive work was carried out on the design of the school façade, including significant involvement with procurement, balancing listing constraints with thermal and environmental factors and engaging the support of English Heritage.

ARK Putney Academy was shortlisted for a 2016 AJ Retrofit Award.