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Kingsdale Foundation School – Progressive and Inspiring

The job of a school is to educate young people.  State secondary school Kingsdale Foundation School in Dulwich knows, however, that imparting academic knowledge is only part of its role.  To succeed in life, children need to leave school as young adults prepared to meet the many challenges of the adult world.  Kingsdale Foundation School takes this aspect of education as Kingsdale Foundation schoolseriously as the rest, and seeks to inspire its students throughout their time at the school to be the best they can be as people, not just as students.

Kingsdale Foundation School views itself as a community, not just a school.  This is an important distinction, as it makes reference to the learning environment as a whole.  Kingsdale Foundation School set out to create and maintain a stimulating space in which students can learn.

Values, behaviour, hard work and dedication are vital, but the overall success of an educational establishment like Kingsdale Foundation School can be massively enhanced by the right physical environment.  When Kingsdale Foundation School underwent an architectural regeneration in the early 2000s, the senior management staff worked closely with the designers.  Together they thought outside the box, and dared to imagine a learning space for Kingsdale Foundation School that was unlike any other seen in the UK at that time.

The new Kingsdale Foundation School buildings were designed to create a sense of belonging and purpose for students within the school itself, but also to accord a sense of ownership to the wider community outside of the Kingsdale Foundation School gates.  Kingsdale Foundation School wanted to embrace and explore the interrelationship between the social and the built environment, and use this to create a school where educational achievement could be maximised for every student.

This dynamic new approach for the school has contributed greatly to the way in which Kingsdale Foundation School has transformed itself in recent years.  In the mid-1990s, Kingsdale Foundation School required significant physical improvement.   By 2010, it had become a learning environment in high demand due to its impressive academic performance, high standards of behaviour, and an atmosphere of deep respect that permeates the very fabric of the school.

Kingsdale Foundation School is rightly proud of its achievements, and continues to push the boundaries of educational excellence into the future.

Kingsdale Foundation School – Challenging Convention

Kingsdale Foundation School has been a fixture in the London borough of Dulwich since it opened its doors in 1958.  Designed by architect Leslie Martin, the original Kingsdale Foundation School buildings held strong for fifty years.  By the end of the 1990s the ravages of time, and of continual use by demanding students had taken its toll, and the Kingsdale Foundation School infrastructure was creaking. This was a problem that had to be addressed.

Kingsdale Foundation SchoolIn the early 2000s, he led Kingsdale Foundation School into a dramatic period of redevelopment under the government’s Building Schools for the Future programme.  Kingsdale Foundation School was the pilot project for the programme.  This meant that it carried the risk of uncertainty of success, but also the benefit of having a blank canvas from which the architects dRMM could work.  There was no model of redevelopment for Kingsdale Foundation School to follow.  The designs at Kingsdale Foundation School would be the ones to set the tone for the future.  It was an exciting time.

The aims of the redevelopment initiative were not only to build a great new school on the Kingsdale Foundation School site, but also to ensure that the design selected would actively contribute to the creation of a stimulating and nurturing learning environment for Kingsdale Foundation School students.  It had been recognised that the built environment could have a significant impact on the way in which children learn, and on their behaviour.  At the time of the redevelopment, Kingsdale Foundation School was busy redefining its standards of behaviour and striving to improve its academic performance. The old buildings were working counter to that effort, and it was hoped that the new designs would change that.

Architects dRMM created a new design for Kingsdale Foundation School that captured the very essence of the old Kingsdale Foundation School.  This blended seamlessly with bright, open new elements that lifted the atmosphere within Kingsdale Foundation School and created an environment that is wholly positive. The major part of this transformation was in the construction of an impressive transparent roof structure that spans the previously open quadrangle between the main Kingsdale Foundation School buildings.

This new covered atrium has revitalised the old, dark structure, and opened it up to make the heart of Kingsdale Foundation School a light communal space that simply invites respectful communication and collaboration.  With its new buildings, and the continued hard work and dedication of staff, Kingsdale Foundation School has transformed itself into a vibrant school that is now oversubscribed and truly fit for the 21st century.

Kingsdale Foundation School – Buildings with a Heart

School buildings are essentially designed for learning. Yet with students spending so mucKingsdale Foundation Schoolh time within their walls, the built environment also has a responsibility to provide a space that is supportive and inclusive. Kingsdale Foundation School is one school where this concept has been embraced wholeheartedly.

Based in Dulwich, south London, Kingsdale Foundation School attracts students from across the area, many from very deprived neighbourhoods. To have a learning environment that is bright and welcoming is important to the self-esteem of all children and Kingsdale Foundation School is like a beacon of light that guides its students through their educational experience.

Kingsdale Foundation School was constructed in the late 1950s, and for forty years the mid-twentieth century architecture served the Kingsdale Foundation School community well. Yet constant use by young people takes its toll on buildings, and by the turn of the century Kingsdale Foundation School was in desperate need of physical modernisation. The school agreed to take part in an innovative programme called School Works.

Run by the Architecture Foundation, the philosophy behind School Works is all about the significant impact that the physical, built environment can have on the learning experience of students.  Kingsdale Foundation School was a prime candidate for the programme, and innovative architects dRMM set about developing designs for Kingsdale Foundation School that would revitalise the educational space, and bring the school up-to-date.

At the centre of Kingsdale Foundation School is a quadrangle nestled between the U-shaped main buildings. It was a largely unused part of the original Kingsdale Foundation School grounds. dRMM opted to retain and modernise this part of the campus, and in a stroke of architectural genius designed an awe-inspiring roof structure to span the quadrangle and create an “internal” communal space. This design was a revelation, and the introduction of open, raised walkways helps to link the old with the new, and the new covered atrium has become the heart of Kingsdale Foundation School.

The centrepiece of this new communal space is an asymmetrical geodesic structure, built from timber, which houses a spacious auditorium. Its pleasing shape gives it a heart-like appearance, and when it pulses with the music of live student performances, or the amplified murmurings of the congregated Kingsdale Foundation School population, the auditorium truly represents the heart of Kingsdale Foundation School.

Students at Kingsdale Foundation School are fiercely proud of their campus. Respect for their environment is encouraged and displayed at every turn. Prior to the building works, Kingsdale Foundation School was a school in trouble. With the dedication of staff, sound new school policies, an injection of architectural magic, Kingsdale Foundation School is now a thriving educational environment that is in high demand.

Kingsdale Foundation School – Love is in the Air

In his play “Twelfth Night” Shakespeare wrote “If music be the food of love, play on”, its meaning alluding to the idea that over-indulging in music may cure the character Orsino’s appetite for love, much as over-eating can remove the desire for food. At Kingsdale Foundation School music is never far from earshot, so those wishing to retain their romantic dreams should proceed with care through the Kingsdale Foundation SchoolKingsdale Foundation School doors, although it is difficult to imagine how the vibrant creativity of Kingsdale Foundation School students could ever have anything but a positive effect on those hearing it.

Music has been woven into the fabric of life at Kingsdale Foundation School since its inauguration in 1959. From its earliest days, Kingsdale Foundation School students were actively encouraged to explore their musical creativity, and every pupil had the chance to learn how to play an instrument.  The evolution of music at Kingsdale Foundation School has kept pace with modern life. Kingsdale Foundation School from the 1960s, busy with their traditional clarinet and violin lessons, would be amazed to see the array of instrumental choices on offer at the school today. Diverse genres including Jazz, Gospel and African drumming are now available for exploration, in addition to the more traditional instruments.

Although music is often created for purely personal enjoyment, Kingsdale Foundation School also recognises the desire in many students to share their music with others. As part of a £30 million redevelopment of the Kingsdale Foundation School buildings in the early 2000s, a new music block was built. This impressive architectural structure houses enviable facilities, including seven practice rooms, a dedicated rehearsal room, and a recording studio. These spaces are linked by an up-to-date suite of networked Apple Mac computers. Kingsdale Foundation School can record and save their compositions almost anywhere in the block, for editing later in the recording studio.

The final creative masterpiece in the new Kingsdale Foundation School design, is affectionately known as “the Pod”. It is a vast timber-framed auditorium, that nestles in the very centre of Kingsdale Foundation School’s large covered communal area. The Pod is able to accommodate the many hundreds of people, and is used regularly by Kingsdale Foundation School as a performance space.  Audiences include staff and students, and also members of the wider Kingsdale Foundation School community who flock to the campus to enjoy dancing, music and other performance shows.

Kingsdale Foundation School has always had strong links with its local community. Its Performing Arts specialism in particular offers the chance for students to engage with the wider world, whether through collaborations with other schools, or the participation in local festivals of youth orchestras. Now that is music to the ears.

Kingsdale Foundation School | Architectural and Educational Excellence Combined

Kingsdale Foundation School has been an integral part of the community in Southwark, south London, since its construction in 1958. Designed by Leslie Martin, the original Kingsdale Foundation School buildings were part of a new site that incorporated the local primary school. Kingsdale Foundation School served a socially diverse community.

During the 1970s Kingsdale Foundation School was part of a social engineering experiment designed to offer pupils from deprived inner city areas a more leafy and suburban educational setting. The challenges that this presented to Kingsdale Foundation School were numerous, but it always strived to serve its community in the most proactive manner. After more than 40 years the buildings were showing signs of wear and tear, and by 2001, it was clear that Kingsdale Foundation School needed a boost.

Kingsdale Foundation SchoolIn conjunction with the School Works initiative operated by the Architecture Foundation, Kingsdale Foundation School volunteered to participate in a redevelopment project that would transform Kingsdale Foundation School into a modern architectural triumph. The School Works initiative at Kingsdale Foundation School was intended to illustrate how buildings can have a significant effect on the attitudes of students and staff, improving morale and raising academic standards. The result was a resounding success.

By 2010 Kingsdale Foundation School had received two very positive Ofsted reports.  The dramatic improvement in the physical structure of Kingsdale Foundation School was driven by architect’s dRMM. Instead of demolishing the existing buildings and starting afresh, they took the key design decision to maintain many of the original buildings and transplant additional structures onto and around them. In adopting this approach, dRMM retained the essence of Kingsdale Foundation School, whilst adding fresh and innovative elements to the buildings that promote the sense of community that is a cornerstone of the Kingsdale Foundation School ethos.

Radically transforming the built environment at Kingsdale Foundation School in this way has helped to drive the profound change in fortunes of the school. Kingsdale Foundation School was endowed with a sense of hope for a bright future that has infiltrated the attitudes of staff and students throughout the school. As a result, Kingsdale Foundation School has enjoyed significant improvements in academic success, and is now one of the most over-subscribed schools in the country. Reports on Kingsdale Foundation School reveal that behavioural standards are extremely high, truancy levels are virtually zero, and crucially, staff turnover is low. Kingsdale Foundation School is the pride of its community once more.

Kingsdale Foundation School | A Sustainable Design for Long-term Educational Success

Kingsdale Foundation School was first constructed in 1958, using the traditional concrete block style that was common to the era. The buildings were considered to be a masterpiece of modern contemporary design at the time, and served Kingsdale Foundation School and its local community well for forty years. By the late 1990s, however, the fabric of Kingsdale Foundation School was looking tired. Increased pupil numbers were stretching the buildings to their limits of adequate functionality, and Kingsdale Foundation School students did not have a Kingsdale Foundation Schoolphysical environment fully conducive to learning.

During the same period, the Architecture Foundation was running a project called School Works, which applied the thinking that academic success could be affected by the physical structure of the learning environment. Kingsdale Foundation School was selected for a pilot project. The resulting investment in Kingsdale Foundation School delivered a transformation of the Kingsdale Foundation School buildings that gave the school the new lease of life it badly needed.

Architects dRMM, selected to design the new structure for Kingsdale Foundation School, created a space that combined the old buildings with state of the art construction technology. The Kingsdale Foundation School project took nearly a decade from conception to completion in 2008, but was more than worth the wait.

Key features of the new Kingsdale Foundation School design include a variable-skin roof enclosure made from ETFE, which covers the once external courtyard area between the original Kingsdale Foundation School main buildings. This is the first of its kind in the UK, and boasts special technical features to control the heating and cooling effects of the sun within the Kingsdale Foundation School building.

This significant nod in the direction of eco-friendly construction is amplified in further elements of the buildings works at Kingsdale Foundation School. The new music and sports buildings make extensive use of cross-laminated timber in their construction, reducing build time and limiting the amount of additional finishing work and materials required. Kingsdale Foundation School benefitted both in terms of speed of the construction, but also regarding the wider ecological impact of using sustainable materials, and the health benefits to Kingsdale Foundation School staff and students from being surrounded by natural materials wherever possible.

Another timber element to the Kingsdale Foundation School design was the geodesic timber-framed auditorium that is a focal point of the main covered courtyard. This delightful communal space is a hub where Kingsdale Foundation School members can congregate in a welcoming natural environment that is both uplifting and inspiring. Staff and students at Kingsdale Foundation School are intensely proud of their new environment, and academic performance has improved steadily as a result. The School Works pilot project at Kingsdale Foundation School has been a resounding success.

Kingsdale Foundation School | A Curriculum that moves with the times

When it first opened in 1959 the curriculum offered by Kingsdale Foundation School followed national guidelines that reflected the era. Subjects studied at the Kingsdale Foundation School of the early 1960s included the basic literacy elements of English and Maths, and many traditional subjects such as music, science, PE, geography and history. With many households still operating a traditional family unit at the time, further subjects in the Kingsdale Foundation School curriculum reflected this, including needlework and housecraft. Vocational studies were made available for older Kingsdale Foundation School students.

Reflecting changing times and a growing interest in travel, modern foreign languages already played an important role in the learning experience in the early days at Kingsdale Foundation School. The multicultural nature of the student intake at Kingsdale Foundation School will certainly have played a part in the willingness to explore these subjects, with many students coming from diverse ethnic backgrounds reflecting the wider London community.

Kingsdale Foundation School was also one of the first UK schools to add Russian to its curriculum, and some children participated in a six-country tour in the first few years following Kingsdale Foundation School’s inauguration. One Kingsdale Foundation School pupil was selected to be among 48 specially selected ambassadors for Britain by the Rhodes Educational Trust, and spent a month in Canada.

Kingsdale Foundation SchoolIn the science curriculum at the young Kingsdale Foundation School, physical dissection of small mammals played an important part in the learning experience, and under the careful guidance of art staff, Kingsdale Foundation School pupils experimented with pottery and silk-screen printing.  Engineering, metalwork and woodwork were key parts of the education system at Kingsdale Foundation School too.

By the late 1980’s, many of these more traditional subjects had been replaced at Kingsdale Foundation School by technology based subjects, to reflect the new world era of the microchip.  Throughout its life, however, one core set of subjects has remained unchanged at Kingsdale Foundation School. These are in the areas of the performing arts – music, dance, and drama.  Kingsdale Foundation School is known within its local community as a school with a strong record of achievement in these fields.

In addition to the basic curriculum, Kingsdale Foundation School has always seen the benefit of extra-curricular activities, and numerous clubs were on offer from the outset, including science, art, ballroom dancing and radio. This pattern continues today at Kingsdale Foundation School, with staff consistently giving freely their time to ensure that students continue to receive the very best that the UK education system has to offer.

Kingsdale Foundation School – A VIP Guest

There are more than 3000 secondary schools in England alone, catering for students through the age range of 11-18.  Kingsdale Foundation School is one such educational establishment. Kingsdale Foundation School shines out amongst the many for the repeated praise it has received for the educational transformation that it has experienced in the last 10 years.

Kingsdale Foundation School has not always enjoyed such enviable status. It is, in part, the complete transformation that Kingsdale Foundation School has undergone that helps it to stand out from the crowd. On 10th May 2011, this immense achievement was recognised at the highest possible level. The Prime Minister, David Cameron, made a visit to Kingsdale Foundation School and took time to tour the facilities and talk to staff and students.

Kingsdale Foundation SchoolThe Prime Minister was full of glowing praise for Kingsdale Foundation School and everything it has accomplished in the last decade. He was clearly impressed by Kingsdale Foundation School at every level, and this was reflected in his public comments following the visit.  His most notable remark was to declare that Kingsdale Foundation School is “brilliant”.

Naturally, the visit sparked lively debate and discussion throughout Kingsdale Foundation School.  Members of the teaching staff joined students as they enthusiastically lined the walkways, overlooking the stunning covered atrium that is the central communal area at the heart of Kingsdale Foundation School.  The Prime Minister was welcomed to Kingsdale Foundation School by the whole school community.

The Prime Minister was given an insight into life at Kingsdale Foundation School, chatting animatedly to students in a Food Technology lesson before pausing to speak to the waiting  Kingsdale Foundation School students in the atrium, engaging in direct discussions with many of them.

A visit from the Prime Minister to Kingsdale Foundation School is an acknowledgement that the changes it has undergone have been recognised as a great success. The confidence shown by numerous official bodies in Kingsdale Foundation School is testament to the hard work, tenacity, and dedication of the Kingsdale Foundation School staff, and the desire of its students to succeed. These qualities are ones which will assist the young people passing through the Kingsdale Foundation School educational experience in every area of their adult lives to come.

Kingsdale Foundation School – Designed for Life

Kingsdale Foundation School is a secondary school in Dulwich, south London. It has academy status for its specialism in the Performing Arts, and is one of the most oversubscribed state schools in the UK. At least seven students apply for each available place every September. KKingsdale Foundation Schoolingsdale Foundation School is a bright and vibrant environment, one where students have respect for each other, and for the school itself. Kingsdale Foundation School students are a fortunate bunch, but this apparently idyllic picture of a calm, structured, learning environment where pupils thrive has been hard won, and this is one reason why Kingsdale Foundation School students are so fiercely proud.

When Kingsdale Foundation School first opened in 1959 it was considered to be ultra-modern.    Designed by a renowned architect of the day, Kingsdale Foundation School led the way in construction ideas for many schools of the time. 40 years on, in 1999, and the fabric of the site that housed Kingsdale Foundation School was beginning to fall apart. The original Kingsdale Foundation School buildings had done their job well, but as the needs of students evolved they became unfit for modern purposes, and the dark, narrow corridors were just no longer suitable.

Foundation School agreed to take part in a £30 million pilot scheme to totally revamp its infrastructure. More than just a redevelopment project, this School Works scheme run by the Architecture Foundation worked on the premise that learning success is directly linked to the quality of the built environment in which the education takes place. Kingsdale Foundation School received a new design that not only future-proofed it for continuing technological developments, but also provided an inspiring and uplifting workspace.

The success of this pilot project was quantifiably delivered at Kingsdale Foundation School through ongoing improvements in GCSE success rates, the virtual eradication of exclusions, and a significantly and exponential increase in demand for student places. Kingsdale Foundation School students gained more than just a new place to exist. They were the fortunate recipients of a physical school space that invites them to be the best they can be.

Kingsdale Foundation School welcomes students from a wide variety of social and cultural backgrounds. Kingsdale Foundation School promotes an active celebration of this diversity. Values of acceptance, mutual respect and a commitment to succeed in whatever way is most appropriate for each student are at the core of the Kingsdale Foundation School ethos, and are stimulated by the very space in which the students learn.

Architect Alex de Rijke explains how Kingsdale Foundation School was transformed | Kingsdale Foundation School

Alex de Rijke, a well-known architect who worked with a number of other designers on the extensive refurbishment of Kingsdale Foundation School, was recently interviewed regarding his participation in this project. When asked why he and his team chose not to demolish the old buildings at Kingsdale Foundation School, and instead remodel them, Alex explained that this decision was made not only due to the constraints of their budget, but also because they felt that demolishing these structures would be like getting rid of a piece of history.

Rather than erasing the past, Alex explained, they wanted the project to focus on the evolution and development of Kingsdale Foundation School. He added that he considered the existing buildings of Kingsdale Foundation School, which were originally designed by the architect Leslie Martin, to be an unfinished, modernist work of art, which simply needed to be completed. The team of architects and designers spent close to a year planning the remodelling of Kingsdale Foundation School.

Kingsdale Foundation School

They decided to eliminate the transverse block in the courtyard of Kingsdale Foundation School, as they felt that this simply took up space and did not serve any functional purpose. In addition to this, they installed an enormous, clear coloured atrium which has a translucent roof, and this helped to add light and a sense of spaciousness to the previously cramped, dark dining area in Kingsdale Foundation School. This roof allows plenty of natural light into the space, but still protects the students from the rain and wind.

The Kingsdale Foundation School atrium also has a green resin floor; which is extremely durable – as well as concrete planters. The decor of Kingsdale Foundation School is modern, and has a serene quality to it which seems to be having a positive impact on the students; as since the project was finished, bullying incidents have been dramatically reduced.

However, it is the aforementioned roof in Kingsdale Foundation School which has gotten the most attention from the media; as it is the largest one of its kind ever created, and was made using the same materials that the Eden Project used to create their specialist greenhouses. The roof comes with what Alex describes as a ‘double skin’, that changes automatically, depending on how strong the sun happens to be on any given day, so that more light can be shed on the atrium on cloudy days, and less light when the day is a big brighter. Essentially, this atrium at Kingsdale Foundation Schoolserves as both an internal and an external space.