Blakedown finishes works at Grade II-listed academy

Blakedown Landscapes Operations was appointed by Lend Lease to undertake the £1.7 million external works package at the Ark Putney Academy in Wandsworth, London.

New courtyard at Ark Putney Academy. Image: Blakedown
New courtyard at Ark Putney Academy. Image: Blakedown

The main part of the academy (formerly known as Elliott School) is a Grade II-listed building designed in the early 1950s. English Heritage have described it as "perhaps the finest of the large comprehensive schools built by the London County Council architects."

By 2012, much of the school's open space was under threat of sale to pay for refurbishment of the main school buildings which had fallen into disrepair. The school gained academy status that year and its management was taken over by the charity Ark, which commenced a £30m modernisation project working with Wandsworth Borough Council.

Blakedown was hired to develop the multi-use external areas, create a comprehensive sports facility and bring the listed features back to life.

Sports facilities were improved with the construction of a 1500 sqm multi-use games area with fencing and floodlighting. A running track and artificial cricket wickets were also installed. A grass terrace was created to provide a spectator area overlooking the outdoor games facility.

As the site was set at different levels, the project team had to undertake contouring of the grounds to effectively link areas, this included the construction of steps linking the courtyard and external dining areas.

Decorative colourful concrete patterns were a statement feature of the courtyard, however these were looking tired and required meticulous restoration true to the original design.

Paving was added to the existing amphitheatre and a brick and concrete wall was constructed to display murals. Additional hard works involved the construction of car park facilities, complete with cycle shelters. Soft landscaping included extensive tree and shrub planting and turfing.

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