Harris Academy Clapham

A large school with a small footprint

Harris Federation received support from the Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) to establish a new secondary school at the site of the existing Glenbrook Primary School.

The Harris Federation’s existing schools have reputations as highly successful educational establishments, and the Federation are aiming to expand their offering to form a new secondary school for Lambeth.

The proposed Harris Academy Clapham will be a six and a half forms of entry secondary school and will accommodate 975 pupils aged 11-16 at capacity. The school will be a new secondary school with no current pupils so intake will start with lower numbers, gradually increasing by 195 per year from 2020 onward. Harris Academy Clapham will create a campus with our recently completed Glenbrook Primary School on the same site.

Due to its urban setting, the available external area is limited. A key driver for the end user was to maximise outdoor play area. In order to do this the footprint of the building is as compact as possible. The result is that the school is 5 storeys tall.

This unusual arrangement presented some interesting challenges, requiring the design team to rethink traditional internal adjacencies, spaces usually located on the ground floor had to be on upper floors. The sports hall is elevated to the second floor on columns, which provides a large covered external play area for the school to use as well as reducing the ground floor footprint.

In keeping with Glenbrook Primary School, the main building is brickwork with feature detailing between window panels, and bright coloured columns supporting the sports hall to add a playful element to the facade.