Hampton Academy

Shortlisted design for new academy based on Swedish education model

In 2010 we collaborated with contractor Sir Robert McAlpine on their bid for Hampton Academy in the London Borough of Richmond. Sponsored by the Kunskapsskolan brand, a successful education provider in Sweden, the Academy was the first outside Sweden to be designed in line with their education vision.

The Kunskapsskolan ethos suited Walters & Cohen’s design philosophy perfectly, with emphasis on shared spaces and personalised learning.

Our design is modern, open and bright. Inspiration came from Michál Cohen’s visit to three Kunskapsskolar where linked, accessible and open spaces enable a collaborative approach and self-directed learning. Independence, ambition and passive supervision are also facilitated by transparency of classrooms and social areas. The challenge was to make the most of the site while fitting in the new college facilities around retained buildings. We achieved this by creating three separate buildings for Key Stages 3 and 4, grouped around a central courtyard, with the existing learning resource centre and gym, music and theatre building integrated with the new buildings. Use of colour distinguishes between the colleges, improves wayfinding and provides a sense of ownership and individuality.

Sir Robert McAlpine were one of two final bidders. We were delighted to take part and be inspired by the progressive spirit of Swedish pedagogy.


ClientKunskapsskolan; London Borough of Richmond

Total value£15.4m

CompetitionJun 2010

Area14,000 m2 (incl. existing buildings)

ContractorSir Robert McAlpine

Structural engineerWalsh Group

Building ServicesMax Fordham LLP

LandscapeIllman Young Landscape Design

Presentation modelBullfrog Models