Kingfisher House,
Juniper Drive,
Battersea Reach,
SW18 1TX

Gateway Academy,
Sustainability Building.


The headteacher of Gateway School, Louisa Lochner, first appointed us as design and build contractors in 2009 for playground revamps, which were completed in 2010. In 2011, we were invited back to look at installing a sustainability classroom in place of a derelict toilet block and revitalising the playgrounds of the Reception and Nursery classes. Mrs Lochner’s brief was to create an outdoor teaching space where the children could learn about sustainability and growing their own plants in a different learning environment.

Client : Gateway Academy

Landscape Designer : Bartholomew Landscaping

Construction and Project Management : Bartholomew Landscaping

Awards : Winner of a British Association of Landscape Industries Principal award for Community and Schools Development and the special award for best design and build project


We prepared a brief and initial sketch design that was presented to the school, in the form of a 3D model and fly-through movie. The school was extremely impressed with the ideas but following discussions with Westminster Council, we had to apply for planning permission for the sustainability greenhouse. Once planning permission was granted work started on the installation a few weeks later and our team of skilled craftsmen, foremen and project managers, installed a beautiful lean-to greenhouse. This was supplied by the renowned company Gabriel Ash who delivered a bespoke Western red Cedar frame that we designed to be located on the old buildings foundations with a new low dwarf wall to its open sides.

The outdoor classroom was made large enough to accommodate a whole class and includes bespoke workbenches with blackboard doors accessing storage cupboards below. The building has a solar panel and wind turbine that have been located so that the children can see power being made. The power created is stored in batteries that are used to power heaters that prevent the plants from being damaged by frost in the winter. Water harvesting barrels and compost bins were located to encourage recycling. Raised planting beds with flowers and vegetables and digging space were located around the building and some existing planting.


Students with a special award from London Children's Flower Society, presented by Alan Titmarsh

Students with a special award from London Children's Flower Society, presented by Alan Titmarsh


During the school holiday, we carefully demolished the toilet block and fenced off the areas of construction before the children returned so that the school could maintain access across the site safely and operate normally at all times. The majority of the works were undertaken during term time as it was felt that it was important that the children could see the work in progress and understand what is involved in building things. The children were able to watch the progress from the safety of their classrooms and from behind transparent fencing. Our landscaping employees were introduced to the pupils and talked to them about the project as the build progressed.

Encouraging pupils to plant their own areas through the use of educational planting beds has proved a great success and the school achieved a special award from the London Children’s Flower Society presented by Alan Titmarsh for their garden. The judges and the school said: “Ever since Eco-Club began, the children have taken great care and responsibility for their Eco-Classroom and its garden. For example, they have watered their plants and seeds very well and they have grown beautiful healthy fruits and vegetables, such as avocados, juicy strawberries, fresh mint and tomatoes. As you enter the attractive garden, the sweet aroma of the fruits zooms into your nose! Furthermore, Eco-Club children are collecting rainwater in a large barrel and intend to use this to water their plants – they certainly do care about the environment! Gateway children have also been saving energy by using solar panels and wind turbines to generate electricity. The Eco-Club is working successfully towards becoming a sustainable school and we are all proud to see them reach their goals. Eco-club will continue their tremendous effort to maintain a sustainable garden and we hope that they will win even more awards in the future.”