Hatcham Temple Grove Free School opened as a brand new primary school in September 2013, as part of the highly successful Haberdashers’ Aske’s Federation. Starting from scratch this purpose built school, established on the very successful Hatcham College Upper School site, provides an excellent place for students to learn and thrive. The school has worked hard during these formative years to establish its ethos and core values, drawing heavily on the ‘Askean’ values of resilience, independence and mutual respect. This has resulted in a happy place of learning where children are motivated to achieve and where staff are encouraged, supported and developed to continually strive for excellence.
A relatively new and modern school building was let down by the solid black, heavy, ‘prison-like’ school gates that did not have an inviting entrance for the children, teachers, parents, visitors and prospective parents. The brief was to open up the entrance with a new bespoke school gate that kept a secure environment for the children, while adding a real impact to the area and giving the school a real presence. A further issue and a technical and engineering problem was that the school entrance was on a steep slope and also opened onto a further severe slope. A clever solution was required for the school gates to work safely and securely ensuring that children could not crawl under the structure.
Pylon Design firstly invited gate manufacturers to quote on producing and installing the structure and designing a mechanism that would meet the difficult technical requirements. Following the production of a small prototype, the bottom of the school gates followed the slope of the road but were hinged so when opening them they also followed the slope of the entrance to the school. Once agreed, Pylon Design prepared a number of visuals for the look and feel of the school gates. Situated on a road with large trees on both sides, Pylon Design used the idea of falling leaves blowing across the entrance to create a unique, bespoke school gate that met the brief in terms of design and construction. Utilising the Hatcham corporate identity, Pylon Design used the same typography and colours from the school crest to create a vibrant and welcoming solution. The name of the school was positioned as individual letters following the curve of the top of the gate. The coloured leaves helped to add some privacy as did the circular panel containing the school crest. On the pedestrian entrance we added a laser cut Welcome sign built into the main structure to make a more inviting opening. Whilst the gates were being built, and despite the fact Pylon Design had successfully answered the brief, we were asked to add further security to the visibility through the school gates. We added a bespoke mesh to the inside of the gate structure which was powder coated to the same corporate blue, reducing the visibility by a further 50%. The final solution has been enthusiastically received as these new bespoke school gates add a real identity to the school and surrounding area.