Dezeen Magazine

Thomas Heatherwick's design for The British School in Tokyo

Heatherwick Studio designs Tokyo school with "playgrounds between each of the classroms"

UK designer Thomas Heatherwick's studio has revealed plans for The British School in Tokyo, which will be the first school the practice has designed.

Located in the Azabudai Hills development in Tokyo's Minato City area, the 15,000 square-metre school was designed to give students access to numerous outdoor spaces.

Brick school by Heatherwick Studio
The brick school will have stacked terraces

"Most inner-city schools don't have enough playground space and the site was quite restricted," Heatherwick Studio partner Neil Hubbard said.

"So we wedged playgrounds between each of the classrooms, creating outdoor learning spaces where pupils can explore and interact with each other and their teachers much more freely than in traditional school environments."

Exterior of The British School in Tokyo
It will be located in a new development area in Tokyo

The British School in Tokyo will have a brick-clad facade and a stacked design, with overlapping terraces and outdoor areas designed as social spaces for 800 students from over 50 countries.

"The brick spandrels nod to the materiality of the historic Azabudai post office and undulate to create open balconies and variety along the elevation," Hubbard said.

"It's a little bit playful, like a school should be."

It will also feature planted balconies and include spaces for independent and group learning.

The school building will house two libraries, music studios, an art studio, a Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) centre, two sports pitches, a dance studio, a sports hall and an indoor swimming pool.

Stacked terraces at The British School by Thomas Heatherwick
The project will be the first school by Thomas Heatherwick

Heatherwick Studio, which is led by designer Heatherwick, is also designing the public realm surrounding the school, including a 6,000 square-metre landscaped square.

The school, which was commissioned by Toranomon-Azabudai District Urban Redevelopment Association, is the first-ever to be designed by Heatherwick Studio and will open in August 2023.

Heatherwick Studio recently opened its first overseas office in Shanghai, China, and announced it is designing a public park with a "motorcycle amphitheatre" for motorcycle brand Harley Davidson.

The images are courtesy of Heatherwick Studio.