Harris Academy Clapham

A large school with a small footprint

The Harris Federation’s existing schools have reputations as highly successful educational establishments. They received support from the Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) to expand their offer and establish a new secondary school for Lambeth on the site of our recently completed Glenbrook Primary School.

Harris Academy Clapham is a six and a half form secondary school that accommodates 975 pupils aged 11-16 at capacity. The school is a new secondary school with no current pupils so intake started with lower numbers. Intake will gradually increase by 195 per year from 2020 onward.

Due to its urban setting, the available external area was 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 and required 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.