Henley Halebrown Architects
The Hackney New Primary School holds up to 350 pupils. A mixed use building, it contains live-work units, industrial and retail spaces while the 11-storey building contains 68 flats.
The Islington/Hackney fire stations, functional design to a common iconography, replaced another unified group of distinctive, practical gothic piles. The Kingsland example in turn gives way to an extension of Hackney New School and apartments.
For us it started life as the next stage beyond the timber tower in Murray Grove. The school buildings would be cross laminated timber above an exposed concrete base, a combination the architect Henley Hailbrown had successfully worked with us at St. Benedict’s school.
Fire control issues during construction, floor to floor, (not in the permanent condition) put paid to the multistorey wooden structure and the building was finished out insitu concrete frame, the lower school sections glulam over concrete.
The building quickly became an exercise in the possibilities of precast concrete. It’s a kind of neo-brutalist retake on Hawksmoor. A variety of components, large brick prefabs, labels and little balustrade units go together into over-scaled assemblies. We learnt a lot about the limitations of the contemporary industry and were grateful for several years of experience with a leading pre-caster to know what is currently attainable.