Stoke Newington School

The RIBA award-winning school refurbishment and extension project included a new entrance building integrated sympathetically with the original Brutalist school to provide a contemporary feel.

Client London Borough of Hackney / Mouchel Babcock Education

Location London, UK

Status Built


2011 RIBA Regional Award
2011 3R Refurb, Rethink, Retrofit Finalist
2010 Hackney Design Award Finalist
2009 Partnerships for Schools: Best Design for a Remodelled School, Best Inspirational Use of Outdoor Space Finalist


Stoke Newington School / Jestico Whiles

Stoke Newington School is a successful inner city secondary school in Hackney, London with a specialism in media arts and science. It has been redeveloped as part of the Hackney Building Schools for the Future programme. The redevelopment comprises 20 per cent new build and 80 per cent refurbishment.

The original building suffered from long term neglect, including poor ventilation, confusing circulation and limited disabled access and the design of the new and refurbished building provides modern and flexible learning spaces with a strong emphasis on design quality, innovation and sustainability.

The three key new-build additions include a new entrance building of additional teaching accommodation, a dining hall, and a link at second floor level which resolved a number of circulation issues. A new central ‘street’ running through the centre of the original school provides clearly defined circulation routes and simplifies the understanding of the original building layout, with the new dining hall at its heart.

The new entrance building is a bold, three-storey addition with a secure and welcoming entrance / reception and a landscaped entrance plaza. The building has been designed to integrate sympathetically with the original 1960s Brutalist architecture and to provide a contemporary feel. The cladding to the new entrance building is made of striking Cor Ten steel panels which provide robustness and complement the red brick and bush-hammered concrete of the original school building. The elevation features elegant offset strip windows raised above black glazed brick at the entrance.

Jestico + Whiles worked collaboratively with the student group on the design of the way-finding strategy. The students were keen to use the colour palette of the new Apple iPod range, which had just come out at the time. Accordingly the palette was used across the school in order to aid way-finding throughout, with different departments using one of the defined colours, and all colours coming together in common spaces such as the dining hall and library.

Following the success of the project, the practice was asked to come back and build a new sixth form block for the school.

'The architects have designed a series of insertions into a Brutalist concrete school and made it work. The most obvious intervention is also the most engaging and thoughtful: a robust, inexpensive and low maintenance corten steel block set on a glazed-brick plinth which has given the school a distinguished, powerful and lasting identity to the street.'

'Perhaps more notable is the sensitivity of with which other more modest insertions have been executed. Indeed, with careful reworking of existing materials and detailing, many are so seamlessly integrated it is a challenge to identify them.'

'The work is not just a quick fix, rather the architects have repaired, reinterpreted and preserved a building with a challenging architectural style that might otherwise have been overwhelmed or even lost.'

2011 RIBA Awards Judges.

Stoke Newington School / Jestico Whiles
Stoke Newington School / Jestico Whiles
Stoke Newington School / Jestico Whiles
Stoke Newington School / Jestico Whiles
Stoke Newington School / Jestico Whiles
Stoke Newington School / Jestico Whiles
Stoke Newington School / Jestico Whiles