National Skills Academy for Financial Services

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The gothic style Victorian double height school hall refurbished to give a flexible teaching and breakout space. The first floor gallery has individual work pods.

MOS National Skills Academy

The reception breakout area with oak panelling and backlit cast panels.

MOS National Skills Academy

Fabric interlayer to laminated glass at the reception lobby.

MOS National Skills Academy

The exterior of the listed National Skills Academy for Financial Services, London. The Victorian building was completely refurbished in 2009 and is now the National Skills Academy Financial Services.


Modern furniture, lighting, services and finishes complement the Victorian interior.


Exploring space and principles with quick sketches.


Sketch concept plan of ground and first floors.

In 2009 the National Skills Academy for Financial Services opened it’s doors in East India Dock Road.

The previously disused building had originally had been a school in Victorian times and fallen into a state of disrepair. The facade and Tudor style hall were listed as “building of historical interest and character”.

One option was to demolish the interior and create a new building behind the facade (an approach favoured on many projects as it gives the client a clean slate). The client opted to work within the building’s constraints and preserve the special character of the interior. An extensive programme of works preserved and repaired the building fabric, new risers , IT and services were installed to make the building fit for purpose in a modern setting; Victorian timber was stripped down and repolished, lead work and stain glass replaced and repaired.

For new additions to the building interior we advised the client to introduce elements with clean modern lines that would complement the strong Victorian detailing. We suggested oak panelling with modern inset coloured glass which echoed the colours from the original features. The carpets, ceramic tiles and furniture had earth tones which gave a warm, friendly atmosphere. The end result is considered to be a building of notable character and a unique experience. An important architectural feature was brought back to life and preserved for the community, and to think it could all have come under the demolition teams crusher!

Our work was recognised by the RIBA in 2009 and we were part if the project team awarded for the building.

Photography: Paul Riddle

Sketch concept plan of ground and first floors.

Sketch concept plan of ground and first floors.