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School of Arts

SHOREDITCH School of Arts

The site of the competition in Shoreditch, London is surrounded by a wast mix of different buildings from different time periods. While you find anything, ranging from the typical Shoreditch brick-style buildings like the school and the residential dwellings in the east of the site, you will also find big structures of social housing programs of the post world war II era in the north and south. The target of the design is to contribute an art school which fits in this heterogeneity environment by being different but not counteracting the history of the Shoreditch quarter history.

By following this basic idea, we tried to firstly find a shape that fits the overall urban situation of the site. The site itself, the functional program and the building regulations of the City of London limit the shape of the building. Considering the setback rules and the height of the building, the easiest way is to implement a box-ish type of building, which would resemble the 1950s and 1960s buildings in the north and the south. But boxes simply don’t reflect or boost creativity that a school of arts should assemble. By pushing the box shape and parameters around an axis in the middle of the site and rounding its corners you get a more playful and tension creating approach to the architecture that is housing a school of arts. In order to meet the functional requirements the consideration of the buildings height is very important. To make it fit those tasks and to the site surroundings we consider it to have it a maximum height of 4 levels. In order to create the same tension and playfulness we wanted to implement in the shape, we sunk the southern part of the building by one floor and granting the rooms there a so called sunken garden to bring light and air to the functions which would otherwise lie below the surface. The last addition to the main concept is the positioning of the entrance of the building. To create a clear and useful entrance to meet the requirements of the building, we choose to put on the middle axis of the site.

The organization of the building is made up around the entrance on the middle axis of the site which serves also as an atrium and exhibition area of the building. In the south you will find the laboratory spaces while in the northern part of the building there are all recreational, administrative and teaching spaces. The atrium itself connects all those usages and creates spaces for the pupils, teachers and artists to gather around.

In the common mind Shoreditch and Materials generate one thought - bricks. Contrary to this first thought you will find only one third of the buildings in the neighborhood are build with bricks. To create a facade which reflects the “brick past” of Shoreditch and gives it a modern - more sustained character - we choose a framework of wood that also serves as sun shading element. The color of the wood reflects Shoreditch past by choosing a light, beige color. The windows of the building are made up by the functional usages. For teaching and administration you will find elements to open or shade the rooms while in for the laboratories you will find big open windows to provide enough daylight to work and create.


Competition proposal


London, UK




Georgi Nikolov
Johannes Treibert
Florian Zimmer