Page T2.1 . 14 March 2007                     
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    Open Book

    by Susan Smith

    The new home of the Bridge Academy, a secondary school in a low-income area of Hackney, London, will be a complex seven-story, terraced building, fitted into a relatively small site. With a focus on mathematics and music, the school is one of many specialist academies being built by the British government. It is sponsored by UBS, a global financial services firm.

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    Site constraints meant the firm Building Design Partnership (BDP) had to coordinate especially carefully among the disciplines. To pull off the difficult design process, the entire design team worked simultaneously on the same building information model (BIM), using software from Bentley Systems.

    BDP has had extensive experience building vertically on small sites for the Department of Education and Skills, with the goal of using as much of the site as possible. In this case, says Keith Papa, architect director for BDP, the key was to use the roof and terraces for the needed outdoor spaces. "To let that happen and still deal with the canal at the front, we had to come up with an intricate structure that the central section of the school is suspended from."

    In the middle of the school is an outdoor playground hung from a big steel hoop that circles around and above it. "As soon as we got to that point, we realized the best people to lead the modeling were the structural engineers and not the architects, because that type of complex geometry is much more their sort of thing than ours," says Papa.   >>>

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    Bridge Academy, a secondary school in Hackney, London, by Building Design Partnership, designed and coordinated with a building information model.
    Image: Building Design Partnership

    ArchWeek Image

    Terraced outdoor spaces.
    Image: Building Design Partnership


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