A campaigning architectural society has published two counter-proposals to the demolition of much of Geoffrey Chaucer Technology College in Harper Road.
The academy – sponsored by educational charity ARK (Absolute Return for Kids) – is due to housed in a new building designed by architects Future Systems.
The current Geoffrey Chaucer buildings date from 1958 and are Grade II listed. The school was designed by Chamberlin, Powell & Bon, whose other London buildings include the Barbican Centre and the Golden Lane Estate.
The Twentieth Century Society, which opposes plans to demolish much of the school, has now proposed two alternatives to what it describes as "the destructive and unnecessary loss ..." of "... an exemplary example of post-war educational architecture".
The society says that its proposals would retain all the existing buildings and contribute to the wider regeneration of the Elephant and Castle.
The centrepiece of the school is the distinctive Pentagon which the campaigners point out is only the second example of a hyperbolic paraboloid roof in England. The Future Systems scheme would retain the Pentagon but the campaigners say that it would be "out of context" without the rest of its contemporary buildings.
The Twentieth Century Society says that it sees either of its two alternative schemes – drawn up pro-bono by architect Robert Loader – as a viable solution in response to the needs of both the school and the community.
"If this listed example should be demolished, without a rigorous and creative examination of the possibilities, it would set a very worrying precedent," says a society spokesman.
"The society hopes these proposals can at least be the start of a sensible and informed debate about the future of these important listed structures."
We invited both Southwark Council and ARK to comment on to the Twentieth Century Society's proposals but no responses had been received by the time of publication.
This is the site of the former New Bunhill Fields Burial Ground and advertisements appeared in local newspapers last week under the Disused Burial Grounds (Amendment) Act 1981 announcing the removal and re-burial of the human remains currently under the tarmac.
"Broadly, this scheme indicates how the listed buildings at GCS can form the basis for the new academy, fulfilling all modern educational requirements whilst also making a significant contribution to the wider and much-need regeneration of this area."
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