• 2 November 2017

Albion primary school opens its doors

We are delighted that Albion Primary School in Southwark has reached practical completion.

The new school replaces the existing building in Rotherhithe to provide a larger premise with a new playground, a floodlit multi-use games area and a dedicated play area for nursery and reception pupils.

The completion of Albion was celebrated with an opening ceremony attended by the Southwark Council Governors, teaching staff and project teams.

Waterman has been appointed by Southwark Council to provide multidisciplinary engineering design services as part of a primary extension plan to transform six traditional Victorian school buildings, one of which was Albion Primary School, the largest of the schools in the current programme. Three of these schools have now reached practical completion including Grange School and Robert Browning School.

The scheme presented many challenges from an engineering point of view with the site being located directly above Brunel’s shallow tunnel to Rotherhithe Station. The school site was on a thick band of River Thames Alluvium and the previous school exhibited large cracking.

Our team carried out complex ground modelling and worked with London Overground to satisfy their safeguarding requirements, developing a raft solution that clear spanned the tunnel. Ground floor nursery classrooms were also larger than the upper floor classes. We conceived transfer beam strips and upstand transfer beams hidden in walls to optimise internal column free layouts. Internally the concrete frame was exposed, with blade columns hidden in wall lines.

Our Building Services team provided a complex servicing solution to ensure the strict energy targets were met. The overall energy consumption was reduced with a combination of high insulation, low air infiltration and high efficiency equipment. This was supplemented with the low energy technologies of air source heat pump and photovoltaic panels.

The redesign of Albion represents a new approach to renovating schools, with its spacious entrance hall, generous circulation spaces and facilities, all of which resemble more of a college or a hotel than a traditional primary school. Richard Page-Jones, Chief Governor, praised the new school and its design in his speech referring to it as one of the most attractive schools he had seen and sets a quality benchmark for future schools.

Barry Dobbins, Waterman’s Director of Structures, attended the opening ceremony along with members of the project team. He commented: “We are really pleased to see the new school opening its doors. We’re proud to be part of transforming six traditional schools into state-of-the-art facilities, which will become hugely attractive to the rapidly expanding Southwark population.”

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