Dagenham Park Church of England School

London. 2012

  • Project Details
  • Completion: 2012
  • Cost: £22.6 Million

Exploring methods of making and construction, Dagenham Park Church of England School is a pioneering example of how collaborative working can deliver quality buildings in highly compressed timelines. A brightly accented three-storey box – split-level and organised around a central atrium – divides the school grounds into two similar-sized parcels. Its façades are composed of layers of storey-high load-bearing panels, crisply finished in pre-cast concrete developed as part of Laing O’Rourke’s Design for Manufacture and Assembly solution. Freely-styled black aluminium portals punch through the elevations, providing access to the cluster of large volumes that constitute the school’s interior. Large-scale graphics and bright accent colours complement an otherwise rigorously neutral material palette.


Context Overview

Key Idea

The new building is arranged with the performance hall and learning resource centre at the heart of the building with classrooms arranged around the perimeter. The space formed between these two uses create two connected atria that are stepped to form open learning and social areas.

Internal Organisation


Organisational Principles

The design of the new building is based on a number of design principles that emerged from discussions with the School leadership team and the local authority.  

Left: External - Internal
Middle: Hall to Hall
Right: Flexible Teaching



Left: Central Learning Resource
Middle: Support Spaces
Right: Views Out


Exploded view showing departmental arrangement in the new building


Façade Development


Left: Massing, Middle: Horizontal Expression, Right: Proportion and Relief


The New School


Colour is introduced to the façade to provide the building with a distinct identity with the palette drawn from variations on colours within the school logo.


East Façade



Entrances to the building are clearly articulated as a series of canopies of a similar character to the entrance portal at the entry point of the site.


Main Entrance


Design for Manufacture and Assembly


The building has been designed to maximise the use of off-site fabrication through the use of an integrated precast concrete facade and structural system.

This system developed by Laing O’Rourke provides a number of significant benefits for the project:

-     the structural and facade design is carried out is with early input and involvement from the manufacturing specialists and uses BIM to extract design information for the purpose of manufacture

-     the structure and facade is largely fabricated in controlled manufacturing conditions

-     the components can assembled quickly on site with completion of the structure and facade scheduled within six months of site operations commencing for Dagenham Park School

-     operating at maximum capacity the Laing O’Rourke Precast Concrete Manufacturing Facility can create all the precast concrete components for Dagenham Park school in 2-3 weeks


Building System


Façade Panel


The multilayered facade panels each measuring 7.5m x 3.6m form a loadbearing external and arrive on site with the windows already installed.



Façade Panels


Precast Concrete Structure

The facade panels form one element with an integrate structural solution that also includes precast concrete columns, walls and soffit panels.  The soffit panels act as permanent formwork for the in-situ concrete slab.


Integrated Structural Solution


Building Information Modelling


Shared model for Architecture, Structure, Services


Off-site Manufacture


Install Windows Off-site

Transport to Site March 2011

Completed Panel




Façade complete August 2011



Site Operations

10th March 2011

24th March 2011

6th April 2011

21st April 2011


16th May 2011


1st June 2011


7th June 2011


7th July


25th August


20th October


Site context

Dagenham Park Church of England School (formerly Dagenham Park Community School) is located on a triangular shaped site to the west of Old Dagenham Park, with a site area of 4.62 hectares.

Aerial photograph of the site

Social Context

The surrounding area is one of considerable social disadvantage with a high proportion of low-income families. The school currently draws students from a relatively wide catchment across a number of wards in the borough.  It is likely that the catchment of the school will change over time under its status as a Church of England School.  The school has advised that this change is likely to result in more students from the immediate neighbourhood on the roll.

Neighbouring Land Uses

In addition to the park the school is bounded by a number of different land uses including the rear gardens of two storey residential terraces to the south, a healthcare centre and nursing home to the west and William Ford Junior School to the north.

Surrounding Land Uses

Further afield there is a strip of high street shops including a public house beyond the Healthcare Centre on Broad Street. At the northern entrance to the park there is a local library and Children’s Centre.  The park itself offers a wide range of facilities including sports fields, MUGAs and a BMX track.

Corner of Broad Street and Moreland Road

Existing School Road Frontage

 View from Park into the School including the Design and Technology and Sports buildings

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