Tiger Way\

Is mixed use the future for school design?

Tiger Way is an innovative mixed-use development. The project delivers a high-quality new primary school and nursery, providing much needed school spaces for the Borough of Hackney. The school is funded through the sale of 89 high quality private sale residential apartments co-located on the same site.

Hawkins\Brown worked closely with the Local Education Partnership to design a school which provided a high-quality learning environment, while ensuring the project was viable by providing residential development above. The challenge was to create an excellent learning environment, combined with high-quality residential apartments on a constrained site with multiple stakeholders.

The big idea

The key to the scheme was ensuring both the school and residential uses had an individual identity while creating a community.

The school is located facing the community with a more intimate scale of 2 storeys. The classrooms wrap around ground floor play spaces opening out to provide a sense of well-being. Play space for the school is provided on both ground floor and at roof level utilising as much of the site’s potential for varied play and learning. The school also has a presence to the South with a large flexible space called the park room overlooking Hackney Downs.

To ensure a viable scheme the residential units were placed facing across Hackney Downs park where the scale of the expansive park allowed the towers to be taller and provide 89 units.

The two uses are unified by a single architectural language and continuity of material. Terracotta rainscreen cladding is used in 3 subtle shades of cream, the natural material is sympathetic to the surrounding context. The two uses retain their individual identity with pops of colour, the school with playful green window frames and the residential with sophisticated bronze features.

“Working with Hawkins\Brown was great. They took the time to explain the architectural perspectives which I might not have thought about, but they also took on board the educational perspectives. It really felt like a partnership between experts in their fields coming together to produce something beautiful.”

Abigail Hopper, Headteacher at Nightingale Primary School

Working from the inside out

The team worked in collaboration with Nightingale School, Londonewcastle and Steve Edge Design to develop an identity for the school and residential interiors. Hackney Downs park provided precedence to develop a strong botanical theme across both the school and residential scheme.

In the school the external fence and bold mural reveal the beautiful feature of the leaves of Hackney Downs. In the residential scheme the sophisticated interior palette of the concierge was influenced by natural material and botanical imagery.

Lessons learnt

In combining school use with residential apartments, consideration to overlooking and the positioning of residential units has been paramount. However, in many cases the idea of residents overlooking the school can also be seen as beneficial, creating a community.

Credit: High Life Productions
  • Project Details
  • Sustainability

Project Summary

Project Team

Main Contractor: McLaren
Project Quantity Surveyor: Currie & Brown
Structural Engineer: Kier Structures
MEP Engineer: Max Fordham
Acoustic Engineer: Max Fordham
BREEAM: Max Fordham
Principal Designer: Currie & Brown
Planning Consultant: CBRE
Landscape Architect: B|D Landscape Architects
Furniture, Fixtures & Equipment:REDS10


  • RIBA National Award 2021 - Winner
  • RIBA London Award 2021 - Winner
  • New London Awards 2020 - Wellbeing Prize - Shortlisted
  • The Sunday Times British Homes Awards 2020 - Mixed-Use Development of the Year - Shortlisted
  • RIBA Awards 2020 - London Regional Award - Shortlisted
  • BREEAM Awards 2020 - Public Sector Project: Post Construction Award - Shortlisted


Tiger Way achieved BREEAM Outstanding at design stage and in 2018 won a BREEAM award for the best Public project at design stage.

Rather than hindering the project the mixed-use allowed for far more efficient, and innovative design solution and allowed the building to be designed to meet ‘Outstanding’. The project team’s core principles have been to retain the quality of the design outcome within the constrained viability of the scheme and ensure this is realised through to construction. The focus on health and wellbeing and the BREEAM methodology has been key to realising this.

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