National Skills Academy

We are delighted to have won the RIBA/LSC Sustainability Award for “a bold and refined revamp of a Victorian school”; and been Highly Commended in the overall RIBA/LSC Further Education Design Excellence Award for “an imaginative re-use of an existing building”; for the remodelling and refurbishment of Tower Hamlets College to form a new National Financial Skills Academy.

The key was to make use of the existing building, providing an excellent opportunity to bring back into use a local landmark building as a valuable resource to the community. The European Regional Development funding was only granted on the basis that a number of environmental outputs were achieved, namely water and energy conservation, energy efficient lighting and passive ventilation. All of these objectives were met; and many more.

The building fabric required overhauling, which resulted in a careful and considered schedule of external works repairs.

The main hall, which is locally Listed, is the ‘jewel in the crown’, with an upper gallery space beautifully restored, renovated and refurbished.

One of the challenges was to find a design solution to make the building DDA compliant and accessible. A comprehensive solution has been implemented, with a ramped access at the main entrance and a new passenger lift in the existing ‘lightwell’