Gatehouse School

Bethnal Green, London E2

Completion: January 2018

Client: Gatehouse School



Building Awards 2019 - Refurbishment Project of the Year - Shortlisted

Award Winner


Gatehouse School by CGL is the transformation of an independent primary school and nursery in inner-city East London, originally built in 1901.

Comprising a vertical expansion and extensive internal refurbishment that are both complementary to the charm of the original building, this considered design was the practice’s creative solution following thwarted attempts by the school to purchase adjacent land in order to expand.

This project demonstrates a maximisation of space that was strongly supported from the outset by Tower Hamlets Council and has now enabled the school to cater for rising pupil numbers by expanding from two to three form entry – an increase of its education offer by a third. Simultaneously, CGL’s design provides a series of outstanding new facilities for its pupils, of which includes 15 new classrooms, a flexible performance space, a welcoming new entrance and reception, music suites, library, kitchen, additional hall space and a consolidated nursery centre.

The new layout and facilities have revolutionised the school. As an example, the new kitchen allows for the offer of hot meals for the first time, transforming the average day for all pupils and staff. The design also delivers an imaginative interpretation of a school’s functionality, of which goes against the traditional and ultimately enhances the school’s curriculum. The performing arts space, for instance, incorporates retractable seating that allows for great flexibility. Primarily a dedicated space for the arts and dramatic productions, this facility further caters for assemblies, exams and after-school activities amongst a number of alternative functions.

Despite the initial projection of staggering the expansion over three stages, CGL compressed this programme into two phases and delivered the project significantly ahead of schedule – all without disrupting the school’s day-to-day operations.

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