03 August 2015 | 21 °C

24 July 2006 | Art & Photography, Music, News | By: Hazel

Pimlico School: Brutalist Building Goes Bye-Bye

PimlicoSchool.jpg

Love it or hate it, Pimlico School is going to be pulled down. The Brutalist secondary school building in SW1 has been simultaneously revered and reviled for years, in similar ways to London's other Brutalist buildings such as the Greater London Council Traffic Island, the Royal Festival Hall and Trellick Tower. While some of these stark, clumpy concrete buildings survive endless criticism relatively intact, others face a jazzed-up reincarnation or complete annihilation at the hands of a child.

Pimlico School has long been revered for its bold, stark, raw style and reviled for the common drawbacks attached to these stylistic elements: floor to ceiling glass windows and large expanses of bare, unadorned concrete means the school is a freezing cold box in winter and a sweltering greenhouse in summer. Whatever respect it has among the architectural community the school has never been granted a listed bulding status so it too will go the way of the Greater London Council Traffic Island and be torn down, thankfully not for more "retail and residential opportunities" but for a whole new school building. Perhaps made of bricks this time. With smaller windows. And maybe a curve here and there.

The re-build of Pimlico school is part of the Building Schools for the Future initiative, a government investment into improving school buildings and environments. Let's hope they get it right: Pimlico School already has a good reputation for its teaching, its special music programme and, well, generally avoiding being picked as the Evening Standard's favourite inner London comprehensive secondary school from hell ("Teachers threatened by knife-wielding pupils! Students caught pushing drugs in staff toilets!" and so on...) It would be a shame not to (literally) build on this.

However, the look of London will certainly lose something with the demolition of the GLC Traffic Island and Pimlico School - but are we better off without these clunky, concrete "carbuncles" or will we miss these two examples of architecture that did something very different for London's architecture and landscape? Jubilation and / or commiseration welcome...

Picture of Pimlico School from the Art and Architecture website here.

big concrete lump

yet another brutalist meets the bulldozer...can someone pleeeeease stand-up for this much derided style of architecture? how long before there are no examples left? ignorant fucks.

Miss Pimlico School Teacher

Dear Big Concrete Lump, With respect, you don't have to work in this building. It is not fit for purpose. We are regularly sent home at all times of the year due to illegal temperatures in the building that are hazardous to working conditions. The large central concourse becomes a rat-run at breaktimes with over 1400 children swarming through en masse, creating a terrifying crush for staff and students alike. By all means, keep examples of this style of architecture for posterity, but please not a working school. How about a nice roundabout or traffic island instead?

Emma

I do sympathise with your comments about working conditions, but I do basically agree with Big Concrete Lump. If this were a Victorian building, people would be frantically trying to find workarounds to bring its air-conditioning/heating/whatever systems up to date without resorting to pulling it down. This type of architecture is currently easy prey for demolition simply because it's currently unfashionable. So was Victorian architecture in the 60s, and masses of it was pulled down. Which many people now regret.

guest

I went to Pimlico school from 1997 to 2001 and although the teaching was usually brilliant and the subjects taught interesting the school and therefore my education suffered as a result of the architecture of the building.
Students should not miss school time as the building is unfit.
Although the average 12 year old may not complain about being sent home early due to the school premises resembling Kew Gardens in climate, the average 16 year old studying hard for their GCSEs will have a very different point of view.

guest

Hi everybody Big great concrete lump, as you all know the school is not exactly beautiful but it has great facilities inseide and how should i know because i go to that school and some people no offnese should be careful what they say because i was surfing the net and i found this and thought why is my school being ripped off people should learn this lesson and this is what my parents taught me dont judge a book by its cover unless youve read it and known its full potential meaning. Some people don't understand that there are people who are bad bunk of skive lessons and stuff like that but its not all of us there are some of us that want to learn and get great jobs in the future. So dont judge the school because it will be rebuilt and made nicer you should come visit the school because it has the school planning for the future. My headteacher not metioning names is a great teacher and she has made the school much more tough shes so tough thats she has introduced uniform. Discover first then say what you have o say.

jasonr1990

hi everyone i have read all you're posts and there is some pro's and con's about demolishing pimlico school first of all i was a student at pimlico school finished with in 2007 and during my tym in school there was a lot of changes with the head master leaving and having a new head mistress as i would agree she is a very strong willed lady and has much to offer to the school but as in the layout of the schooli would agree that the windows was mistake in the design of the school result a week oof school due to the fact of the window panes being lose and a risk of falling on someone and i would agree that it was like a green house during the summer aswell as the concourse being over crowded but i think in some way the layout was ok i mean the department in which each subject was placed had quite alot of room and was quit spread out despite the windows making the it very hot it only caused problems for a few classrooms and having a swimming pool played a good role in helping young teen relax and kool down the library was good plenty of desks aswell as having three rows of commputers if there was a way of removing the windows withouts having to demolish the whole school i would of been happy i was also present at the meeting discussing the re-buliding of the school and that we had madea n agreement to to make a youth service centre whrere troubled teens could go aswell having plenty to do where they could go and chill out i aslo seeing the huts been rebuilt of the drama department but knowing all thing i do not wish the school to be rebuilt jsut to be turned into some academy i want to to still be a community comprehensive school

Teacher

I go to pimlico acadamey and think it should be knocked down for a number of reasons,one of these is that the holes in a number of classrooms around the school allow rain to get in,causing students to get ill e.g. flu.Which pushes them to take time off and causes their attendance to drop,this affects their education.

I understand that some people feel very strongly about the fact that they don't want the school to get knocked down, however if you actually attended the school you would feel very differentlty.Students miss out on a good education for unnecisarily dire problems like lack of good insulation, which causes the school to be bitterly cold in winter.Whereas in the summer there is an almost greenhouse effect causing temperatures in the building to get ridiculously high.As a result of this students need to be sent home affecting their education.I'm sure to the average year 7 student wouldn't mind but students studying to do their GCSE's will have a different point of view.Now thats hardly fair is it!

Many of you may feel that these brutalists buildings are a part of history and that by knocking this one down there will be a miniscule amount left.However a vast amount of torists will disagree.They could be driving by to go and see the Tate Modern or Big Ben

Teacher

Dear commenters, I have read and understood what you have written from every perspective; but as a present pupil of the school I would like people to hear our opinion on the rebuilding of our school. One point I would like to address is that the learning environment in the school is very uncomfortable; most of the classrooms are very small and can be sometimes overcrowded meaning some teachers will not be able to fit in necessary furniture such as: Filing cabinets, desks etc. Also most classrooms have leakages and are sub-zero in temperature, and many students cannot concentrate in these conditions

During my time in the school so far there have been many changes from uniform to head-teachers. And we are willing to hold on to one change; and that’s to rebuild our school. We need to keep track of the latest facilities which will have a major impact on the education of all the pupils. With the latest facilities us students will get better exam results and will look forward to each and every day in Pimlico academy. We can at last be proud of our school building. Not only will we benefit from the new school building, our community can to. The school is in a critical area due to tourists, it is less than 2 mins (by car) away from the Tate Britain (a hugely popular landmark in London); meaning tourists can drive by our school at any time. What tourist visiting the great landmarks of London would want to see a big Brutalist building/school on their holiday? People all over the world think that London is a modern city and that the buildings are to; buildings such as: canary wharf, the London eye, British Telecom Tower, Westfield and so on…So why is it that when they come here to London they are greeted with tall, damp concrete buildings including our own?

Pimlico School has been around for no more than 35 years and it is an example of Brutalist architecture due to its austere use of concrete and glass without decorative claddings or ornaments, and its appearance has been controversial since it opened. Building a new school will mean a happier environment for all. Due to its unique modern aesthetics, residents can live in a happier environment for their borough an environment to be proud of.

And me personally I think that brutalisms reign over the country is coming to an end with much more modern and futuristic buildings as its arch enemy.

S.S

Teacher

As we all know Pimlico academy is one of the few brutalisms building left in London, who we to destroy its unique structure after all, that is what makes it different. Many bombard the school with their harsh remarks, but it should not be put down.

If we knock down this building, the learning of our students will be at great stake. Although the temperatures can drop so low that working conditions are simply impossible, surely replacing windows and installing a more functional heating system will be less disruptive. Pimlico Academy has their students GCSE’s coming up which is fundamental to their future. How sad it would be if their results were affected because of the noise and commotion!

Another reason why we should keep the building is that if we get rid of Pimlico Academy schools’ old building then we are getting rid of the history, and the hard work many students have put into make Pimlico Academy what it is today, and what we are planning to achieve in the nearby future.

Although the facilities in Pimlico Academy are not up to the standards’’ they could be, minor changes can be adjusted. For example: we could repaint the class rooms to make it brighter and keep the students alert, also we could repair the leakages in the roof.

All these minor changes can make a big difference without completely destroying the history of Pimlico Academy.

So if you have a heart, and honestly want the best for Pimlico Academy. I say keep the building and just refurbish the facilities.

THEN OUR FUTURE WILL HAVE MUCH IN STORE FOR US!

Teacher

Anyone who is considering knocking down Pimlico School must first think of how long it will take to completely massive building. Not to mention what the 1250 students, many of which are currently studying for A levels and GCSEs, are going to do whilst the school is closed. There are many ways to get round these small problems that plague a perfectly wonderful building. For instance there have been complaints of leaks in the classrooms can be put right by simply replacing the corigated windows with double glazed ones, this would also solve the cold contitions in the winter. Some people think that the school is badly designed, or that people miss too much school due to the heat. This can be easily improved using a air conditioning system, all of this work could be done during the holiday.
This building is a perfect example of a 60s brutalist building ans soon there will be none left in London. There will be no reminders of what we lost in the war, although Pimlico was not blitzed, so many buildings where and we still moved on so well. We hardly have any brutalist buildings left and it would be great to keep one rather than replace it with some stupid, cold glass box.
As many people know the playground is currently closed as they are renewing the PE courts. Why build something new if your going to knock it down anyway, we will have no money left if we knock down our lovely building full of the children who are shaping our future.
I assure you we will regret it so much if we knock down such a beautiful piece of concrete.

Teacher

Hi!

My point of view is that you shouldn’t knock down the school as it is fine as it is and you don’t look at the good sides of the school not just the bad, some people say the schools a work of art its just a point of view, do you honestly think tearing it down is necessary?

Also Pimlico school is a great school, of course there are some faults, as the windows and some of the illegal temperatures, but there’s are great equipment inside the school not everything’s about the design, the rooms have a good amount of space to work in and are suitable for working purposes.

The outside maybe a bit rusty but all it needs is a bit of tidying up but you don’t need to knock it down, also the money you spend on knocking the school down you could use on the facilities inside the school.

People make the school sound terrible, it isn’t as bad as people make it sound, there is enough space in the classrooms the only fault is that the windows make it a bit hot in the classes but not all of them.

Pimlico school has lots of potential, it also has its speciality in music and the students get great grades, the school don’t effect the learning all you need is to tidy it up a bit inside knocking down the school wouldn’t resolve anything because you still have to buy equipment for the interior.

You could get better equipment, like desks, fix up the windows and more technology for the students to learn, you could get more projectors for the classrooms as not all of them have one also the chairs and tables are a bit dirty as I said that all you need to do is tidy it up a bit.

G.Ferrao
=]

Teacher

Anyone who is considering knocking down Pimlico School must first think of how long it will take to completely massive building. Not to mention what the 1250 students, many of which are currently studying for A levels and GCSEs, are going to do whilst the school is closed. There are many ways to get round these small problems that plague a perfectly wonderful building. For instance there have been complaints of leaks in the classrooms can be put right by simply replacing the corigated windows with double glazed ones, this would also solve the cold contitions in the winter. Some people think that the school is badly designed, or that people miss too much school due to the heat. This can be easily improved using a air conditioning system, all of this work could be done during the holiday.
This building is a perfect example of a 60s brutalist building ans soon there will be none left in London. There will be no reminders of what we lost in the war, although Pimlico was not blitzed, so many buildings where and we still moved on so well. We hardly have any brutalist buildings left and it would be great to keep one rather than replace it with some stupid, cold glass box.
As many people know the playground is currently closed as they are renewing the PE courts. Why build something new if your going to knock it down anyway, we will have no money left if we knock down our lovely building full of the children who are shaping our future.
I assure you we will regret it so much if we knock down such a beautiful piece of concrete.

sorry to put it twice
forgot to put initials
RS
xxx

Teacher

Tear it down. The time has come for Pimlico academy building to be knocked down and never remembered. It is a bleak building to look at if you’re unlucky enough to pass it. It is just full of windows and the colour is just repulsive.

First of all, whether we like it or not people judge by appearances. Parents wouldn’t want their children to go to an unattractive school which means fewer pupils will apply for the school. Also, it seems to me that the environment affects the mentality towards the space. People write on tables and on walls which isn’t nice. Imagine a visitor comes to the school to see that - even if it is a minority it is not at all encouraging. Now, if the new building was to be built, children will know to take care of it because they want to keep they’re pride and be proud to say ‘I went to Pimlico academy'.

There are some reasons that other people will like to keep this building though. It is an iconic building and some people like the structure. I know some people think that it is an iconic brutalist building and should be kept; however, brutalist buildings have their name because the building is ugly, which Pimlico Academy is. I personally think that in order to get rid of the disgrace surrounding the name (especially after special measures); they should knock this building down without any second thoughts - allowing us a fresh start.

M.F

Teacher

The secondary school Pimlico Academy building should definitely get knocked down for many reasons. The building at the moment is not fit for purpose! Not just the outside, but also the inside of the building. I’ve experienced how it feels for five years, and trust me it isn’t exactly brilliant. Cracks in the walls in the classrooms, windows completely dirty, broken chairs with graffiti written all over it! When it rains the whole school is leaking! Well not the whole entire school; but parts of it, however that isn’t good enough! What’s the point of keeping the building when the inside isn’t attractive either!

What Pimlico Academy needs is a fresh new start! What I’ve heard is Pimlico has improved and I honesty think it has, since I have visited Pimlico recently, they got new carpets and sofas to make the school a safe environment. It has a homely atmosphere, whereas the building doesn’t.

I don’t really understand why we’re arguing over this, we all should know that Pimlico Academy hasn’t at all been a success and now it’s their chance. Pimlico is one of the ugliest schools in the UK; I don’t want my previous secondary school to be presented as one of the Brutalist secondary school, because it makes us feel ashamed and we don’t want to feel ashamed, but PROUD of our school.

Every brutalist building has to eventually get knocked down, for example the old Art gallery of Hamilton building, center point tower in Oxford Street and there’s many more that need to be knocked down, but Pimlico academy is a different situation, it’s a school with students that need to be successful in their education and pass their GCSE! It doesn’t matter if there are no more brutalist buildings left, that’s the whole point! We don’t want any brutalist buildings; they just make our country look gruesome!

You may think Brutalist buildings bring history, but that’s in the past get over it! It’s now the 21st century, it’s time we move on! We need new elegant buildings. Pimlico Academy needs to be attractive and eye catching for Tourists, many tourists go pass our school since the Tate modern is only ten minutes away from our school, they won’t stop to look at our extremely unpleasant, revolting and depressing school. Students need to be in a clean environment to be able to pass their grades.

No students need to miss school; they can break down the school in different parts so the students will still be studying in school but on the other part of the building.

In my opinion the school is a chaos at the moment, unfortunately it’s a fact sometimes, that’s why it needs a new building, to make the school look graceful, luxurious and successful rather than a hideous, dull and presented as a bad reputation school!

P.A

Teacher

As we all know Pimlico academy is one of the few brutalisms building left in London, who we to destroy its unique structure after all, that is what makes it different. Many bombard the school with their harsh remarks, but it should not be put down.

If we knock down this building, the learning of our students will be at great stake. Although the temperatures can drop so low that working conditions are simply impossible, surely replacing windows and installing a more functional heating system will be less disruptive. Pimlico Academy has their students GCSE’s coming up which is fundamental to their future. How sad it would be if their results were affected because of the noise and commotion!

Another reason why we should keep the building is that if we get rid of Pimlico Academy schools’ old building then we are getting rid of the history, and the hard work many students have put into make Pimlico Academy what it is today, and what we are planning to achieve in the nearby future.

Although the facilities in Pimlico Academy are not up to the standards’’ they could be, minor changes can be adjusted. For example: we could repaint the class rooms to make it brighter and keep the students alert, also we could repair the leakages in the roof.

All these minor changes can make a big difference without completely destroying the history of Pimlico Academy.

So if you have a heart, and honestly want the best for Pimlico Academy. I say keep the building and just refurbish the facilities.

THEN OUR FUTURE WILL HAVE MUCH IN STORE FOR US!
E.R..X
sorry to repeat forgott to put my initials

Teacher

The London eye, Madame Tussauds, Tate modern, science museum and much more. However there is still not enough. Pimlico school just does not fit in with London's image which Is one of the most beautiful places in the world. Well… Pimlico is just NOT beautiful. Its rather disgusting. Tourist are bound to go pass Pimlico as its close to hotels and only a few yards away from the Tate Britain. People like to come and visit buildings like these. With the London eye, Tate modern, British museum surrounding Pimlico school. The school just looks out of place and doesn’t fit in.