In 2015, we joined forces with Architecture 00. Together, we enjoy collaborating in a shared environment where strategic, urban and social designers, architects, programmers and economists practice design beyond its traditional borders. 00 work with individuals, governments, corporations and communities to solve problems and anticipate change, and to design successful platforms and places. As a studio it aims to reach beyond the design of objects themselves to the social, economic and environmental systems behind them.

Where Is My School?

Where is my school? is a research project to investigate potential options for providing a secondary school in the south of the London Borough of Camden where there is currently none.

We have been carrying out research in response to the desire for a secondary school to serve south Camden since 2007. This has involved site searches and a number of site appraisals as well as a preliminary feasibility study for a Council-owned site we uncovered at Wren Street. This study assessed the size of school that this site could accommodate and some of the challenges and opportunities that a development would likely involve.

In August 2008, our work was presented to the South of the Euston Road Working Group – including members from the Campaign, LB Camden, and Department for Children, Schools and Families – with the aim of working towards a solution to this problem. This led to the Council announcing that they would be considering how best to secure the potential use of the Wren Street site for a school in the future.

The campaign has been promised government funding for the new school, provided the council can show demographic need. Our work has been published in the Camden New Journal and Prospect magazine helping to raise awareness of the campaign and its objectives.

April 2009: Prospect Magazine includes the Campaign and our involvement as a case study in an article about parents setting up schools.

‘Ahn and Smith set off on their fold-up Brompton bikes -his blue, hers yellow- to re-examine all the sites. At one Ahn saw, on the other side of the road, a vaguely derelict industrical building. It hadn’t been on the council’s list. It was really the large sign outside that caught his eye. It read, in big green letters: ‘London Borough of Camden – To Let.’ (Actually, Je’s bike is the yellow one!)

March 2009: Frank Dobson MP includes us in his yearly report. Here we are having our picture taken with him at Wren Street!

March 2009: Camden New Journal publishes another article about Wren Street:

‘Is it Victory in Wren Street for new school campaign? The Town Hall has finally bowed to decades of public pressure and for the first time agreed to work on opening a new school in Holborn. Camden’s schools chief Councillor Andrew Mennear told colleagues on Monday night that council-owned lock-ups in Wren Street could be transformed into a new secondary school. It is the first time the council has departed from its line that there is nowhere south of Euston Road to build one.’

September 2008: We revise the study of the Wren Street site to show that although this is a tight site, it is feasible to fit a small school. We presented the document to the SER Working Group.

July 2008: Camden New Journal publishes an article about the Wren Street site:

‘Opening soon? Wren Street Community School in Holborn, the secondary comprehensive of choice for families living south of Euston Road. Great idea, say parents in the south of the borough’

May 2008: The Campaign presents our Wren Street study to the South of the Euston Road (SER) Working Group. It transpires that the extent of the Camden-owned site is much larger than we initially were aware of so the site looks much more viable, and the study needs to be revised.

January 2008: We have spent a few months researching into school design guidance, gathering precedent studies from the UK and abroad, and doing a site search within walking distance of the area through both desktop research and by cycling around with our eyes peeled. While on our travels we come upon a site at Wren Street that is Camden-owned. We then carry out a preliminary feasibility study and compile all this information into three reports: Potential Sites, School Precedents, and the Study of the Wren Street site.

September 2007: After carrying out a lot of research into school design guidance we write a document for the campaign outlining some considerations and opportunities to be taken into account when looking to build a school in a dense city-centre area like the South of Camden.

June 2007: Over the last couple of weeks we attend all of Camden’s BSF public consultations supporting the campaign and getting to know the situation better. We follow this up by writing to the council describing our proposed research project.

May 2007: we emailed the Campaign, offering to help with architectural research and advice. Then, as it happens, the following day is a campaign meeting which we attend and there meet Emma and Polly among others. We offer to carry out feasibility studies and site searches and generally help in any way we can.

Summer 2006: we sign to the newsletter for the Holborn and St Pancras Secondary School Campaign.