Hackney needs room for over a hundred new school places in the coming 5 years. Without government funding to do this, it was in need of an innovative way of creating them whilst being beneficial to the rest of the community.
Introducing The oTTo; located on Tiger Way on the edge of the Hackney Downs, it is a co-located education and residential building. Creating 420 new primary school places, Nightingale Primary is set to open in the spring of 2019. Alongside that, the two high rise towers above but also intertwined in the same building as the school, will create 89 new homes in the ever growing city of London. The residential facilities are set to open in the later months of 2019.
At a project value of £27 million and still under construction, The oTTo has already received a BREEAM award for the design stage (the awards recognise the achievement of those involved in the specification, design, construction and management of certified BREEAM buildings), and has set itself the target to achieve one for sustainability also.
Hawkins Browns are the architects behind the project and their idea was this: they wanted to maximise the site, aiming to provide the much-needed school spaces, as well as the private sale of residential apartments. The challenge, however, was to create a design scheme for both residential and educational purposes and ensuring both worked to their full potential without overcrowding the other, and having individual identities. The team worked closely with the Local Educational Partnership and school to ensure the design met or exceeded design guidance, responded to the existing school’s needs and community, as well as being viable.
The design proposes two high rise towers on either side of the building, whilst to the north, the lower school level stretches out in between, and although lower, it is multifaceted, utilising the roof spaces as play and green areas for the children. It creates a community feel within the building itself, with views out onto the school, as well as the shared communal terrace spaces the apartments offer residents, and situating a school room above the residential entrance.
This is why the building is wrapped in the same ‘terracotta’ material. The 4-storey linear blocks proposed to the south will be set back from the road to ensure residents an enhanced public space, and with some raised front gardens. Setting the apartments back has also minimised over-shadowing of the area surrounding it.
Moving inside, Hawkins Brown interiors and Steve Edge design have been appointed to provide the botanical theme that was inspired by the park beside the build, as an interior strategy for both he school and residential scheme.
All in all, The oTTo is an innovative build, encompassing the community’s needs whilst also fitting into the modern landscape of architecture.