First look at Sheppard Robson’s designs for Coombe Wood School, Croydon

17th April 2018

Sheppard Robson has submitted plans to the London Borough of Croydon for the new 1680-pupil Coombe Wood School. The 12,400m2 comprehensive, mixed secondary school – which has been funded by the Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) – will include state-of-the-art learning spaces for children aged 11 to 18 as well as enhanced community sports facilities.

The project – led by a Wates consortium – has been arranged as three, connected classroom ‘fingers’ that allow the building to respond to the site’s extensive contours, with a series of split levels that naturally animate the design. This composition reduces the mass of the building and allows it to sit comfortably within the context of a mature green space and residential buildings. The learning and social spaces look out onto two south-facing courtyards that are created by the tripartite composition, whilst also framing views out over the playing fields and woodland beyond.

The principle communal and community elements address Coombe Road, with the volume of the main hall distinctly expressed as a pitched form. This northern elevation includes full-height glazed slots that divide the three ‘fingers’, creating a visual connection into the school’s courtyard

The sports facilities include a full-size 3G pitch and athletics track, with a number of the amenities and the new five-court sports pavilion open to the public during the day, in the evening and on weekends.

Lee Bennett, partner and schools lead at Sheppard Robson, said: “The project provides a much-needed school and also forms a great community asset. We have worked hard with the school and ESFA to generate a scheme, within a relatively modest budget, that maximises the potential of this unique site for all - students, staff and public.”