Five Islands School, Isles of Scilly

This new school on St Mary’s, 30 miles off the Cornish coast, had to fit visually and horticulturally into its spectacular but highly sensitive maritime environment. The site falls some 11 metres so we used spoil from the building excavations to create a series of large sports platforms linked by wide steps which double as social spaces. Dry stone walls and planting were widely used to create sheltered outdoor teaching spaces so that pupils could benefit from the temperate climate. We chose beautiful natives, such as the apple variety ‘Scillonian Pearl’, where the grounds merged with the wider landscape.  However within the confines of the buildings we celebrated the archipelago’s reputation for spectacular exotics with a show of palms, agapanthus and tamarisk. (Completed 2012, civic trust commendation 2013)