Highgate Junior School

Highgate School

Client's Brief

Architype were appointed architects for Highgate Junior School after winning a design competition in June 2012, with a visionary proposal for the new development. Set in the Haringey Conservation Area, the 4,288 sqm scheme provides a high quality co-educational learning facility, reflecting the schools achievements for excellence in education.

The development retains part of the existing development, Inglehome, an old Victorian villa which has been restored in a sensitive way, harmoniously integrated into the proposed main building. Designed to achieve BREEAM ‘Very good’ and a 100 year lifetime goal, we have conjured a well resolved scheme, articulated in plan to sit well within the site boundary constraints, offering extensive views across the landscape and a strong, well-defined street presence.

On Site / Mar. ‘14
Completion / Aug. ’16
Gross Internal Floor Area
4,288 sqm
Construction Type


The plan has been broken down into two distinctive blocks, married together with a central double height hub space, which embraces the cascading level changes across the site and delineates a clear circulation strategy around the double storey building.

The front of school, with a large civic presence, accommodates the highly visible main entrance, administration facilities, staff areas, specialist teaching areas and the multi-use hall.

Taking a more informal approach, the rear block, curved in shape, incorporates classrooms for the 4-year groups with generous circulation zones and break-out spaces encouraging interactive learning and teaching activities to manifest. Provision within the classrooms, by the way of a timber screen, offers private space for independent and focussed learning or one-to-one sessions.

The west facing classroom façade largely composed of composite aluminium and timber clad triple glazed windows, with protruding teaching balconies, has been designed and modelled to increase natural daylight to achieve a minimum daylight factor of no less than 4%, and optimise controlled solar gain to reduce the dependency of costly comfort heating. The design also includes for glare reduction on screens avoiding the need for window blinds at a later date.

2017 RIBA London Regional Awards Winner

A palette of robust and easy to maintain materials that offer longevity was specified. Set within a conservation area they have also been carefully considered to meet the fundamental need for them to comply with existing contextual setting.

For the benefits associated with thermal mass, we opted for a predominantly concrete structure, which acts as a temperature regulator, absorbing solar heat and expelling it to increase the internal space heat over the course of the school day. Night purging cools the thermal mass during unoccupied hours.

Limestone, yellow and red brick facades with a slate roof finish, common to buildings within the area, were specified for the main public facing areas. A green sedum roof and timber elements have been included within less visible areas, to meet the environmental requirements.

Internally, the spaces are finished to a high quality; synonymous with the standard of the education delivered by the school.

We chose to retain Ingleholme as it had historically formed the corner of Bishopswood Road and Hampstead Lane and is one of the few remaining original Victorian villas. We wanted Inglehome to inform the new rhythm of the street, influencing the elevation treatment of the new building. Whilst creating challenges in terms of fabric condition and accessibility, the location of Ingeholme in the south east-corner of the site, provided the opportunity to create a semi-independent music and drama suite with interior dividing efficiently into studios, ensemble rooms and smaller practice rooms.

Achieving this introduced a number of structural challenges. We had to create new floor levels, which entailed the removal of all the existing floors and internal walls. A new steel frame was installed to underpin the existing external structure and the new floor plates. The intensive refurbishment also required a new roof and extensive brickwork repairs.

To maintain the breathability of the external walls along with damp resistance, thermal insulation and good airtightness we specified ThermoPor insulated render applied to the internal faces of the brickwork.

As well as being connected to the new building at ground and first floor levels, a dramatic new staircase installed in the full height void provides access to each floor, visually accented by a three storey CNC cut mural, depicting an abstract musical phrase.

Building Performance

A combination of Mechanical Ventilation Heat Recovery (MVHR) and natural ventilation creates a tempered supply of fresh air throughout all seasons, creating excellent conditions for learning and concentration.

The scheme has been modelled in-line with Passivhaus principles, a standard Architype are well experienced in. The design reduces thermal bridges and the continuous ‘duvet’ layer of insulation works in synergy with the membrane layer to produce excellent building performance, and prevent heat loss.

Architype Team

Project Partners

Structural Engineers
BUILT Engineers
Building Services Design
Skelly & Couch
Landscape Design
Katy Staton Landscape Architecture
Cost Consultants
Gardiner and Theobald
Planning Consultancy
Turley Associates
Wates Construction


  • 2017 RIBA London Regional Awards Winner
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