Uniting a community

Tidemill Academy and Deptford Lounge

The Giffin Street redevelopment’s brief was to form a focal point for the local community as the key part of a five year plan for the regeneration of Deptford town centre. The scheme puts a new primary school at the heart of the development: Tidemill School combines the replacement primary school with the Deptford Lounge, a state-of-the-art district library which also offers community facilities and exhibition space for local artists. Through shared facilities with the wider community, Tidemill School benefits from increased space and facilities, in a physically and socially integrated environment.


Tidemill School is at the centre of the site and wraps around a courtyard garden, of which the Deptford Lounge forms one wing. The Lounge is a highly visible new public building which provides a fourth side to Giffin Square – a new public space. The upper floors of the Lounge are designed for shared school and community use. The plan has been carefully developed to work with a clearly defined management strategy for the shared facilities, allowing areas used by the school to be completely secured from the areas open to the community during specific times of the day.

The Deptford Lounge is a three storey steel framed building with reinforced concrete stair and lift cores providing the stability to the primary frame. In order to protect the Victorian masonry sewers running below the building, the requirement of a lightweight structure dictated the design. To the south facade, the external perforated cladding system is supported by a galvanized steel frame.

The key structural challenges have been the buildability issues associated with the busy city centre site and the location of the 4 main buildings to maximise all available space, including the design of an innovative roof-top play area above the Lounge building. This space provides the children with a roof-top play experience in the elements. The play area is formed by extending the galvanized steel trusses that help support the external facade to form a translucent cage.

Another feature of the design is an enclosed landscaped playground for the children at ground level. This has been imaginatively interlinked between the academy and the lounge.

Externally, the first floor deck of the Lounge leads down to the rubberised playground by way of three, double-width galvanized staircases. Painted in bold colours, they add depth and structure to compliment the bold facade.

Architect: Pollard Thomas Edwards

Image: ArcEye Images Ltd

Posted on December 30, 2013 by untitled

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