Islamia Primary School

Location: Salusbury Road, London

Client: Governing Body of Islamia Primary School

Sector: Education

Cost: £8.2m

Islamia Primary School became the first state funded Muslim School in England in 1998. It was founded in1983 by Dr Yusuf Islam (formerly Cat Stevens).

Marks Barfield Architects were appointed with a brief to design a two form entry primary school on the existing site of the Islamia Primary and Secondary Schools.

The School’s vision is for a modern, confident, inspirational, forward-looking School. It has been designed to high environmental standards and is on course to achieve BREEAM excellent.

Study of the wider context and urban grain surrounding the site established that Salusbury road is street with two sides. To the West the buildings are primarily residential, three story and set back from the pavement edge. On the Islamia side the buildings have a more varied civic uses – commercial, retail, religious and education – they are generally three story going up to four stories at the top of the hill and are close to the pavement edge – with the exception of the recently built vicarage which is considerably smaller than its neighbours and set further back.

Our response has been to design a relatively modest a 2-3 story brick building that sits comfortably in its context in terms of massing. It is lower than the buildings on the opposite side of the road, the frontage is stepped back from the pavement edge and the building stepped down with the slope of the site, to minimise the impact of the new building on its nearest neighbour; the vicarage and the church.

The classrooms are arranged around a south facing courtyard with each of the key stage one classrooms opening out onto its own external learning space. The principal shared areas of hall, gym, prayer hall, library and staff areas are to the North; easily accessible from the main entrance so that they can be open to wider community use. The prayer hall itself has been stepped in terms of massing to address the street and to be orientated towards Mecca. The entrance of the building is clearly identified by a portico and the pavement is widened at this point to create a generous, welcoming entrance.

The Key Stage 2 playground is on the roof, making maximum use of a tight site. The proposed brick is a cream coloured stock brick, made in Leicester, laid to a Flemish bond so that we can create the pattern of holes, shown on the facade, for secure night time ventilation.

Sustainable and environmental features:

  • Air Tightness
  • Air-Source Heat Pump
  • Forestry Stewardship Council Approved Timber
  • Highly Insulated Envelope
  • Materials Chosen for Durability and Long Life
  • Natural Ventilation
  • Non V.O.C. Paint
  • Photovoltaics
  • Robust Detailing
  • Secure Night Time Ventilation
  • Shading / Overhangs
  • Stack Effect
  • Thermal Mass
  • Water Saving Fixtures