Grontmij announced that work has commenced on the Crouch Hill Park and Ashmount Primary School development, in the London Borough of Islington.
The Crouch Hill development is a highly sensitive scheme and comprises Metropolitan Open Land, a Site of Metropolitan Significance for Nature Conservation and a local park. The site is adjacent to the Parkland Walk, a disused railway and a popular North London walking route between Finsbury Park and Highgate.
A new central green space will give the public access to out-of-hours community activities in the school including, a shared games court. New paths will link local housing and the Parkland Walk to attract visitors and improve safety. The whole site will become more permeable and accessible, with easy-access routes for wheelchairs, young children and parents with pushchairs. Paths through existing trees are designed as raised boardwalks, to ‘tread lightly’ through the site and a sensitive lighting strategy will improve community safety in key areas, while respecting bat foraging corridors.
Site challenges included the large number of existing trees, important habitats for foraging bats and breeding birds, extremely steep slopes, and the need to treat large stands of invasive Japanese Knotweed.
Grontmij and architects Penoyre & Prasad won a design competition in 2006 run by Islington Council’s Children Services for a new £13 million primary school. Willmott Dixon Construction were appointed the multidisciplinary design team to see the project through to completion in September 2012.
Ben Handley, associate from Grontmij, says: “The input from local residents, the Ecology, Sustainability and Greenspace teams at Islington Council and other stakeholder groups has been invaluable in gaining the community’s support for a scheme which incorporates their unique needs. “The Grontmij team has been entranced by this place since our first visit. The sites steep slopes and edgy feel of nature reclaiming the remnants of industrial archaeology; it is a hidden gem and a revelation in inner London.
Following the BRE Environmental Assessment Method (BREEAM) guidelines the proposed school is expected to achieve a BREEAM ‘outstanding’ rating.
Image Credit: Grontmij