Bridge Academy, Hackney, London

Date Built
Laburnum Street and Haggerston Road
The architects of the building say that the design is based on their “schools without corridors” concept that maximises, “social cohesiveness and develops the idea of providing a ‘school without columns.  ... Galleried learning space is set around a social gathering area and learning hub. A sweeping structural arch supports the centre of the school, allowing the learning space to be column free and totally flexible."

The Hackney Council site has an interesting page about the Bridge Academy.  In the section on the Hackney Design Awards for 2010, in which the building was a winner, the judge's comments were, " What would you like to find when you walk into your school? Surely, everything that is in the Bridge Academy.  This is a thrilling building, enticing and crucially - very grown up. ......

..... It's thick with references, like walking into a vast modernist library or the foyer of a concert hall in Berlin. Its brief must have been 'make the school day irresistible to the students'. This ambition appears almost insurmountable given the small site. .....

...... Outside it is very odd. But once inside, the architects' chaotic vision is revealed as something very different. A building realised, and indeed, reinforced by the meticulous and painstaking arrangement of its parts - half flight stairs, balconies, exposed structure, holes in floors exposing furniture that sits beneath. .....

..... Every part flows easily to the next, leading the eye on a sumptuous never ending journey, like learning should be.  ......

... It proves a school can be placed anywhere - but can be so much more than just 'anywhere' when placed with such loving care. Well done."

The school’s vision is to,  “ ... give young people the best possible education whatever their background or ability, and will help them develop a life-long enthusiasm for learning. ... Students experience a broad and rich curriculum with Music and Mathematics as specialist subjects.   A culture of high standards and achievement will enable them to develop their full potential, building the skills, confidence and self-belief they need to become responsible and successful adults.  Bridge Academy creates an inspiring, secure and inclusive environment where innovative thinking and creativity are encouraged and aspirations are raised. It is a school for the whole community with students, staff, governors, parents and carers, and members of the local community working together for mutual benefit."