In 2009 Walters & Cohen was approached by Bam Construction to design a scheme for Regent High School (formerly South Camden Community School), a co-educational secondary school on a tight urban site in Somers Town, London. This neighbourhood has often been overlooked while nearby areas around the train stations at King’s Cross and St Pancras have received significant investment and development. 70% of students are eligible for free school meals and more than 75% have English as an additional language. In terms of financial poverty, this area of Camden is in the most deprived 5% of neighbourhoods in London.
The design supports a wide variety of teaching and learning methods to suit the 1,300 students and the school’s education vision, with a flexible layout that encourages interactive, personal and collaborative working. At the heart of the school is the Arcade, a generous triple height circulation space that links the new elements of the campus with the original Victorian school building, and provides views out to the courtyard garden.
The school’s specialism of the creative arts is promoted with a state-of-the-art theatre, which helps regenerate the north end of Chalton Street. The colourful fins add a cheerful façade to the courtyard garden and are based on a music-to-colour synaesthesia of the song composition Für Elise by Beethoven.
CABE awarded the scheme ‘Very Good’, the highest rating at the time, and praised the ‘clever integration of old and new’. The project won a Camden Design Award in 2015.