Ark Putney Academy Finalist in the Civic Trust Awards

Wednesday 23 November 2016

We are excited to announce that Ark Putney Academy has been shortlisted for a 2017 Civic Trust Award. For the uninitiated The Civic Trust Awards scheme was established in 1959 to recognise outstanding architecture, planning and design in the built environment.

The school was designed in the 1950s by the pioneering London County Council’s architects department, also responsible for the iconic Royal Festival Hall and the building was once described by English Heritage as “perhaps the finest” of the London County Council’s large comprehensive schools. However, as the years went by the school fell into disrepair and eventually, over sixty years after it was first built, became unfit for purpose. Yet, with funding from the Ark Network and Wandsworth Borough it was possible to secure a £30 million renovation project to bring the school back to its former glory.

The behemoth challenge of making the building liveable again whilst maintaining its distinctive character and external appearance was undertaken by the architecture firm Hawkins Brown. The building was originally designed by the LCC department of architecture and is considered to be one of the best examples of a post-war modernist education building in the UK, because of this it was grade II listed in 1993.

The project involved totally remodelling the teaching and learning environment in the school, this included amongst other things; a new purpose-built sports hall and dance studio, a new environmentally responsive façade, and re-landscaping the external play space.

“The challenge was marrying the new and the old, and making the limited budget stretch as far as possible - particularly working with English Heritage (now Historic England) to find a financially viable way of retaining but reinventing the existing building.” Hawkins Brown website

Three years after its initial undertaking the project was finally finished and the results are breath-taking. From the undulating roof and the sea of green panels on the main building to the bright airy interiors and the views across London the school is now not only a top class learning environment but also consistently draws attention from architecture fans across the UK. It was part of 2016’s Architectural Open House Weekend and has been nominated for a number of awards. The most recent of these being a place as a regional finalist for the Civic Trust Awards 2017, the winner of which will be announced in December 2016.

Learn more about Ark Putney’s journey, the Civic Trust awards, and the other regional finalists here:

“I firmly believe that the work of Hawkins\Brown has allowed us to build on the legacy of the school and provide students of varying backgrounds and abilities an opportunity to study in an amazing building once again.” Alison Downey, Principal, Ark Putney Academy