Cornelius Vermuyden School and Arts College

Canvey Island, Essex

Cornelius Vermuyden School is a co-educational secondary school for 900 students located on Canvey Island in the Thames Estuary. The project was a sample scheme for Essex County Council's ‘Building Schools for the Future' programme.

Clad in brick, copper-tinted aluminium and timber, the school is predominantly new-build, but parts of the existing 1970’s school that could be usefully refurbished and re-used were retained.

The organizing element of the new building is a double-height central gallery which runs through the centre of the school linking the teaching clusters, sports hall, learning resource centre, etc. The gallery varies in width along its length, defining as it does so a series of spaces for the entrance hall, dining and the display of artwork. Richly landscaped external spaces are created between the wings for recreation and learning. 

We had a dream for our new school to be a beacon for learning; to transform teaching and learning and have a WOW factor. Thank you Nicholas Hare Architects for making this dream a reality.
Carol P. Skewes, Headteacher

Delight in Construction

The anodised aluminium cladding that is used in several locations around the school has a deep coppery colour. In collaboration with the artist Vanessa Dell of Impact Art the aluminium screen to the sports hall has been perforated with holes of varying diameters to subtly delineate the name of the school.

Our Team

  • Paul Baxter
  • Lawrence Edgell
  • Malcolm Birks
  • Seema Bedi
  • Joanna Day
  • Tim Dennis
  • Niamh O'Reily
  • Tristan Rogers
  • Edwina Rusk

Project Team

  • Client: Essex County Council
  • Cost Planning: Skanska
  • Structural Engineer: Arup
  • Services Engineer: HBS Consulting Engineers
  • Landscape Architect: Grant Associates
  • Acoustician: Sound Research Laboratories
  • Fire Engineer: Buro Happold
  • Contractor: Skanska
  • Art: Impact Art
  • F&E Consultant: Isis Concepts
  • Photography: Jim Stephenson


  • Shortlisted: RIBA Award