Project title
Brent Knoll School
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All-Through School for children with special needs
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£6 million
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London Borough of Lewisham
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Open September 2015
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Forest Hill
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Architect's Role
RIBA Stages 1-2
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“..the initial reaction to [our new school building]….has been fantastic”
Headteacher, Brent Knoll School

All photographs are © Peter Durant



Brent Knoll

This design takes an innovative approach to the relationship between internal and external spaces for teaching and learning in order to accommodate large range of needs on a constrained site. Children are from Key Stages 1 through to 5 and with special needs, many at the more extreme end of the autistic spectrum. New buildings wrap around a split-level landscape courtyard and transparency within the buildings ensures good visibility across all areas of the School. Perimeter circulation puts the class bases for the younger children into direct contact with the landscape and gives a pleasant outlook from all teaching areas.

Intense interest in horticulture and the therapeutic possibilities of landscape means this school (for once) makes the most of the space available. A water-play feature provides activities and sounds for the very youngest children, a contained ball-court gives opportunities for more physical play for the active children. This provides an interesting contrast to the technology-rich sensory room, an immersive space with sound, light and pattern projection to restore calm and develop audio, visual and tactile experiences.