Hackney New Primary School & 333 Kingsland Road London 2015–2020

Shortlisted for the Stirling Prize in 2022 this project combines a 350-pupil primary school with an apartment building. The relatively compact footprint of the residential tower frees up much of the site for the school and protects it from the noise and fumes from one of London’s busy arterial roads. The community-led co-educational primary school was completed in 2020 five years after Hackney New School, the secondary school with which it shares its name and pedagogy, in particular a focus on music.

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  • RIBA 2022 Stirling prize
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    The entrance to the school allows an easy flow in and out of the courtyard
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    The entrance to the school, with a view through to the courtyard, is animated by an outdoor staircase and illuminated by sunlight
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    The scheme fuses two building types - a courtyard school and an 11-storey residential tower
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    The courtyard conjures up an inner world in which to learn and play. The walls are sheltered by canopies and lined with ivory glazed brickwork that illuminates the space
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    The accommodation is “pushed” to the edge the site to carve out the largest possible courtyard play space along with a roof garden above the hall
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    Corridors are replaced by open galleries that wrap around the courtyard creating an efficient plan, healthy circulation and a direct relationship between inside and outside space
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    Each classroom has a “shopfront” to the courtyard. Something the youngest “Reception” pupils take quite literally
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    Classrooms are paired and connected by generous double doors so that each year group of 50 children can learn together
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    The hall, which is lit on three sides, along with the classrooms, music rooms and administrative spaces focus on the courtyard
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    Efficient planning enabled the design team to create additional specialist teaching spaces like this music room
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    Covered open-air staircases make it easy to move around the school. Children and teachers alike move from one activity to another in the open air
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    This focus on outdoor space on all floors promotes outdoor teaching, conversation, play and exercise throughout the school day
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    The design uses the scale and composition of the apartment building’s facades and arcades at the base to give weight to the building
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    A bench by the school entrance means that parents can sit in the sun and chat whilst waiting for their children at the end of the school day
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    The entrance to the school is diagonally opposite the one to the secondary school and coincides with the break between the tower and the school
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    The gates were designed with artist Paul Morrison and depict a scene – a spider’s web and a dandelion - which marks the threshold between the adult world and one for children
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    The plan generates what appears to be a narrow point block on the south east corner. Elevations are composed of a simple grid of generous windows
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    The plan is symmetrical about a diagonal axis from the street corner in the south east to the other in the north west. The plan is “pinched” and “twisted” to create the colonnaded façades to the NE and SW
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    Floors are paired, with loggias carved out of the mass of brickwork
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    The point block clusters eight apartments on a floor around a central octagonal stair, in total 68 dual aspect one and two-bed apartments and four penthouse duplex three-beds
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    Detail of the colonnaded façades. The richly coloured precast concrete is derived from the red sandstone aggregate and red sand used in the mix
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    Detail of school façade, clerestorey windows to the school hall and south-facing bench below
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    The concrete is heavily acid etched to reveal the texture of the aggregate which emphasizes the weight and detail of the concrete overhead and all around you
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    Arcades create generous pavements and shelter from the sun and rain
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    The richly coloured precast concrete is derived from the red sandstone aggregate and red sand used in the mix
  • HNPS / HNS masterplan
    Model of Hackney New Primary School (foreground left) and Hackney New School (background right)


  • Appointment: 2015
  • Construction start: 2017
  • Completion: 2020
  • Area: 8,535m2
  • Budget: £26m
  • Sustainable credentials: Over 80% of classrooms meet the UDI requirements and Daylight Autonomy (sDA300) 75% of the halls, dining, PE spaces and libraries meet the UDI requirements and Daylight Autonomy (sDA300)
  • Form of contract: Bespoke
  • Client: Thornsett
  • Client: The Benyon Estate
  • Main Contractor: Thornsett Structures
  • Funding Authority: Education and Skills Funding Agency
  • User Group: Hackney New Primary School Trust
  • Structural Engineer: Techniker
  • MEP Engineers: Elementa
  • Planning Consultant: CMA Planning
  • Principal Designer: Potter Raper Partnership
  • Approved Inspector: MLM
  • Fire Consultant: BWC Fire
  • Acoustic Consultant: Pace Consult
  • Landscape Consultant: Tyler Grange
  • Transport Consultant: Phil Jones Associates
  • Air Quality Assessor: Peter Brett Associates
  • Planting: Jennifer Benyon Design
  • Project Manager: RLB
  • Quantity Surveyor: RLB
  • Artwork: Paul Morrison



  • Erich Mendelsohn Award for Brick Architecture, (Shortlisted) 2023
  • The International Architecture Award, Schools and Universities, (Winner) 2023
  • RIBA Client of the Year, (Winner) 2022
  • RIBA Neave Brown Award for Housing, (Winner) 2022
  • Inside Housing Development Awards, Best development - urban in London, (Shortlisted) 2022
  • RIBA Stirling Prize, (Shortlisted) 2022
  • RIBA National Award, (Winner) 2022
  • RIBA Regional Award, (Winner) 2022
  • Civic Trust Awards, (Winner) 2022
  • The Plan Awards, Mixed-Use, (Shortlisted) 2021
  • AJ Award, Mixed-Use, (Winner) 2021
  • AJ Award, Design of the Year, (Winner) 2021
  • New London Awards, Mixing, (Shortlisted) 2021
  • Housing Design Awards, PRS Award, (Winner) 2021
  • Brick Award, Urban Regeneration, (Winner) 2021
  • Hackney Design Awards, Main Category, (Commendation) 2020
  • Hackney Design Awards, Young People's Choice Award, (Shortlisted) 2020
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