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Danpalon® rainscreen in an innovative school building design - Isaac Newton


Isaac Newton Academy, Ilford/ Architect : Pollard Thomas Edwards / Installer : M CLARKE FACADES

A primary school was to be built next to a recently completed secondary school to create an all-through academy. Everlite Concept’s Danpalon® BRV rainscreen played a major role in achieving a bold visual impact, maximising the use of space and shielding the school from a noisy urban environment.



The Isaac Newton Academy is located in a busy urban location in Ilford, Essex to the East of London.

A non-denominational, non-selective school, it welcomes children from all backgrounds from the local community. Its purpose built secondary school opened in 2012 with 180 students. By 2018 there will be 1,250 students, with a sixth form of 350. The adjacent primary school was built in 2014, transforming the school into an all-through academy.

The primary school was built on the site of the former Ilford public swimming baths. Not only does it sit on the Ilford High Road, a busy main artery into the capital city, it is also immediately adjacent to a working fire station.

Architect Pollard Thomas Edwards (PTE) of London, a specialist in the creation of new neighbourhoods to make thriving and sustainable places, was appointed to design the new Isaac Newton primary school for Bouygues UK Construction.

Isaac newton


The new primary school would need to meet a range of competing design criteria:

  • The school would need to integrate seamlessly with the existing secondary school
  • As the academy’s main street-facing building it had to make an inspiring, positive statement
  • It also needed to maximise the use of space in a tightly restricted urban location
  • And importantly, the primary school would need to help mitigate the effects of significant traffic noise from the main road and fire station.



" The primary school,with its striking ‘glowingbox’, acts as a welcoming gateway to the the new all-through academy, and helps establish it as a prominent feature in the local community."

Simon Whitley, Associate at Pollard Thomas Edwards

Isaac Newton


By specifying a protective L-shaped building configuration, with a hall block adjacent to the busy Ilford High Road, and a teaching block with its back to the fire station, PTE created a natural buffer to the noise of the surrounding area, and provided a sheltered play space for students.

In order to harmonise with the secondary school and to ensure a coherency with the fire station next door, the primary school’s main external structure, was of a simple red brick A Danpalon® rainscreen was then added to the street-facing hall block

Designing the hall block to house the school’s common parts, including canteen and assembly areas, on the ground floor, PTE specified Everlite Concept’s Danpalon® BRV rainscreen for the façade which extended upwards a single storey height to enclose an open-air rooftop sports pitch. The hall block’s translucent polycarbonate rainscreen cladding was composed of 641m2 of alternate 900mm wide opal and crystal coloured Danpalon® BRV 16 panels, pre-treated with Everlite’s Softlite anti-glare coating.


The rainscreen façade shelters the students from the noise and wind of a busy urban environment as they play in a safe and inspiring rooftop sports pitch. It also helps insulate the hall below, maximises the school’s use of space and makes a bold aesthetic statement at the same time.

During the day the translucent polycarbonate cladding maximises the amount of natural light entering the rooftop playing area, while at night it acts as a stunning beacon, illuminated by interior lighting and reflecting the continuously changing street and car lights outside.

Sir Isaac Newton, one of England’s most influential scientists, laid the foundations of the laws of motion and gravity, optics, the theory of colour – he was a true leader of scientific revolution. How apt that such an innovative school design should bear his name.

Isaac newton

  • Isaac Newtown (Ilford/ UK)
  • Danpalon BRV 16 / 900mm Opal and Clear Soflite
  • Architect: Pollard Thomas Edwards
  • Installer: Clarke Facades
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