Highgate Junior School

Architype, London, 2016


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Outdoor space 

Dennis Gilbert     Download Original

  • Outdoor space    
  • Katy Staton Landscape Architecture was the landscape architect    
  • The external brickwork rainscreen is predominantly built with 440 x 103 x 38mm York hand-made bricks    
  • The double-height atrium    
  • One of the classrooms    
  • A circulation space    
  • The building features lots of timber joinery    
  • The light-filled central atrium    
  • Timber balustrade    
  • Classroom interior    
  • Location plan    
  • Landscape plan    
  • Ground and first floor plans    
  • Roof plan    
  • Environmental sections    
  • Long section BB and short section AA    
  • Heart diagram    
  • Detailed section through brickwork wall    
  • Axonometric detail of jali brickwork    
  • Working detail – brickwork    

Highgate Junior School in London is Architype’s first private school project.

Founded in 1984, Architype has designed or refurbished more than 50 primary schools across the UK. Many of its trademark touches are apparent at Highgate Junior School: a double-height atrium with clerestory windows, lots of timber joinery and stair balustrades, a memorable assembly hall and keen attention to daylight. The palette of materials includes Portland stone, oak joinery and ceilings, and more than 55,000 oversized hand-made bricks from the same York supplier used for Herzog & de Meuron’s Tate Modern Switch House and O’Donnell + Tuomey’s Saw Swee Hock Student Centre at the London School of Economics.

The site, which falls by approximately 3m from south to north, was not without its challenges. Ingleholme, a Victorian villa belonging to the school, occupies a prominent corner of Hampstead Lane, midway between Highgate Village and Kenwood House at the south end of the site. With the existing villa retained at the corner, the junior school reads as three buildings in one. Transformed into a semi-independent teaching block for music and drama, Ingleholme is linked to the main building with a glazed slot, behind which sits a new stair leading to upper-floor music rooms.

The main block of the new school houses an assembly hall with retractable seating for all 320 students, a light-filled central atrium and the visitors’ entrance. Beyond the main block, there is a brick-clad art, science and design technology building with brick jali screens in front of openable windows.

The primary structure is a reinforced concrete frame on piled foundations, with floor slabs and walls. Concrete was chosen for its longevity, thermal mass and airtightness. The external brickwork rainscreen is predominantly built with 440 x 103 x 38mm York hand-made bricks, and is supported on Ancon stainless-steel support brackets fixed at ground level and at window heads to the concrete structure, tied back to the structure with low-thermal-conductivity basalt wall ties to minimise cold bridging. Lime mortar is used throughout to eliminate the requirement of movement joints in the external brickwork. The 250mm-wide cavity is filled with blown mineral-fibre insulation. Triple-glazed, inward-opening windows are set within the insulation layer and tied back to the concrete walls with airtightness tape between them concealed behind the oak faced plywood linings.


  • Begun: Mar 2014
  • Completed: Aug 2016
  • Floor area: 4,288m2
  • Sector: Education
  • Total cost: £20M
  • Procurement: Traditional JCT Standard Building Contract with Quantities; competitive tender
  • CO2 Emissions: 8.8kg/m2/year
  • Address: 3 Bishopswood Road, London, N6 4PL, United Kingdom

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