Synergy News & Blog: London Office

The American School in London

The American School in London

Interested in a challenge? In St. John’s Wood, just a cricket ball’s throw from Lord’s and within screaming distance of that famous zebra crossing opposite Abbey Road Studios, sits the American School in London; on a tight site closely surrounded by residences, with a hospital just across the road…oh, and a Network Rail tunnel directly beneath. The school is looking to construct an arts building, and a subterranean swimming pool and fitness centre—the structure of which will come very close to the tunnel crown—all on the school’s only external play space.

We have two architects on board; ORMS, who are handling the pool complex, and Walters + Cohen, who are designing the arts block. In addition to providing project management, CDMC and cost consultancy services, Synergy will also be acting as contract administrator.

The project is due to go out to competitive tender at the end of this year with work starting on site in spring 2014.

The arts block—the only element that will be visible to passers-by once the project is complete—is a 20.00 x 15.00 x 12.00m, high-quality cube structure with graded fluted loadbearing limestone external walls perforated with bronze-framed glass pods and exposed concrete wave-form floor slabs. The pool also utilises high-quality exposed concrete finishes and the current proposal is to enclose the changing room pods in obscured-glass, double-skin, curved walls with multi-colour, LED-lit cavities—not your average pool design.

Once the pool structure and arts block are complete, the play area and external landscaping will be reinstated so that this valuable external space can be handed back to the school in autumn (sorry, fall) 2015, whilst work on fitting out the pool complex continues beneath until handover in spring 2016.

By the way, the whole complex links directly to the existing school, so there are going to be some interesting interface issues to resolve in order that the school can continue to function with the minimum of disruption.

Posted on 18/9/2013

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