The UCL Academy is a new mixed school, taking pupils from 11-18 years old. It opened in September 2012 with 180 Year 7 students (first years) and 125 students in Year 12 (sixth form), and will grow year on year until it reaches capacity in September 2015. The Academy specialises in maths and science, and enjoys a close relationship with its sponsor University College London on Gower Street. Facilities include state-of-the-art science laboratories, a science demonstration theatre for interactive lectures, experiments and talks by visiting academics, and an engineering science suite. The Academy shares the site with Swiss Cottage Specialist SEN school, each benefitting form a number of creative overlaps and shared facilities.
At six storeys high, UCL Academy, at the most prominent corner of the site, fulfils its role as an important civic landmark in the community. The curved building forms around a south facing outdoor space which is an important circulation space for arriving staff and students and from which they are dispersed to the five ‘households’ which make up the Academy.
Each ‘household’ has a ‘house’ as its social and pastoral centre and a ‘superstudio’ as the centre of its learning resource. The upper floors offer fine views, and roof terraces are provided wherever possible to give additional learning and social opportunities on a tight site. Swiss Cottage Specialist SEN School, a large special needs facility for children with a variety of abilities, provides an intimate, non-institutional environment with good access to combined learning and resource areas. Roof terraces are provided wherever possible, along with a floor of high quality research and admin accommodation for staff. Both buildings are designed using high quality pre-cast concrete and timber, giving the schools a distinctive urban gravitas not often achieved within school budgets. Our design makes best use of landscape assets and the fine existing trees both on and around the site.
The building has achieved a BREEAM rating of Excellent.
“Thank you for creating such a beautiful building. The response from students, parents and staff has been amazing. The care you have taken to make sure the building has been designed with learning in mind, is immediately obvious to everyone who comes in.”
Geraldine Davies, UCL Academy Principal