Wednesday, November 30, 2011

The Spa School, Southwark, by AOC

AOC’s BSF Spa School for children with autistic spectrum disorder makes a virtue of its suburban setting
Bermondsey witnessed a strange act of political doublethink last month, when Simon Hughes, Liberal Democrat MP for the area since 1983, cut the ribbon at the opening of the new Spa School building recently completed by AOC.
He showered due praise on the architects, builders and clients that had brought this new creation into being, yet failed to mention that the very system that had allowed it all to happen was swiftly — and unlawfully — abolished by his own party’s coalition government as one of its first acts in office.
The unwieldy £55 billion BSF programme was criticised for being wildly profligate, yet the building that now stands on Monnow Road — a 734sq m extension and 230sq m refurbishment of one of the UK’s largest schools for children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) — was completed for only £2.7 million. It proves just what value an innovative young practice can bring to this overly bureaucratised sector, which is all too often dominated by stodgy architectural behemoths...
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Originally published in BD, 30 November 2011