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Olive School

Hackney, UK


project overview

A considerate reuse delivering an inclusive education setting to Hackney

As part of the Department of Education’s Free Schools and Academies programme, Olive School is a thoughtful refurbishment and new-build extension. The Muslim Faith Primary School delivers to the London borough a new educational environment, providing real learning opportunities where pupils feel welcomed, valued and important.


design concept

Thoughtfully capturing the heart of its surroundings

Sympathetic within its sensitive historic and civic context, one of the key design objectives was for the new development, formerly a police station, to not overshadow the existing buildings and setting.

For this reason, we used a simple palette of materials which showcase a subtle, sophisticated look and feel. By reusing the complex and constrained site buildings, we delivered suitable and sufficient space for the primary school.

The new school is arranged into three buildings, two of which we refurbished and one a new-build extension. The new building, which schools the younger pupils, provides direct access to the school gardens.

As inner-city pupils, engagement with green spaces is often limited, so we integrated plenty of access to the outdoors to grow their experiences and heighten their learning.

Acknowledging the challenges of urban settings, we prioritised ample outdoor connectivity in our design as we knew this would enhance the learning process through increased engagement with nature.”

David de Sousa

Director, Architecture

Project aims

Creating a dynamic educational environment

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Preserving heritage features

In keeping with its historical heritage and charm, we retained the building's existing windows and carried out repair work where necessary.

Contextually considered material palette

Our modern design uses a limited material palette, including brick and cedar to create clarity and composition whilst showcasing a subtle yet contrasting relationship with the surrounding context. The cedar cladding gives the school a warm, inviting look and feel whilst blending gracefully with its natural surroundings.

The integration of buildings

The new build teaching block seamlessly connects students to the existing structure through walkways and a stair core.

Sunlit rooftop gardens

Taking advantage of the sunlight, we placed most of the planting on the roof gardens, also providing space for wildlife and educational gardening.

Vibrant outdoor spaces that enhance learning

With an emphasis on supporting a pupil's physical health and cognitive development, the school's outdoor areas include coloured pavement and patterned tarmac, creating a stimulating environment for play and games.

Reuse of an existing building

The refurbishment of the Grade ll listed former Hackney Police Station building and a new build teaching block and hall.

key information

Project summary


London, E9 6EJ


Tauheedul Education Trust






4,500 m2


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