Swanlea School, Whitechapel, London

Percy Thomas Partnership & Hampshire County Architects
Date Built
Opened in February 1994
Brady Street, Whitechapel
Swanlea School was originally designed for up to 1,050 students aged from 11 to 16, since then the school has grown to accommodate a Sixth Form.  The building features a long glazed "street" which the school refers to as "The Mall".  It provides access the instructional areas that are arranged on both sides of this long atrium, and acts as a wet weather shelter and during winter it functions as a heat source for the entire complex, thanks to passive recovery of solar heat. The school's website explains that, "... The glass cover is made of “Okasolar Glass” panels, with prismatic strips that reflect sunlight in the summer and let light pass in the winter. A natural ventilation system in the street made an air conditioning system unnecessary. The building was designed to have a significantly small energy footprint than the prefabricated state secondary schools of the Fifties, Sixties and Seventies. The classrooms face the Mall with large windows where you can see the students hard at work. The school has an extremely pleasant open feel, and the classrooms are enjoyable spaces to work within, as the many windows take advantage of the natural light, heat and ventilation."