|Location||London, United Kingdom|
|Categories||Architectural Design > School/Education facilities|
The school is the first stage of the wider transformation of a former railway siding in West Hampstead. The delivery of the school in phase one met an urgent demand for pupil places and gave a new civic quality to the site – a focus for the wider redevelopment.
As a nursery and infant school, we wanted to create a building with a warm, nurturing environment for pupils’ first step away from the security of home. The design sought a positive transition from a public building with a strong civic presence to individual classrooms which are comfortable and welcoming.
The school hall has a double frontage onto a new public square with the main entrance alongside – a welcoming beacon in the heart of the masterplan. Classrooms have a protected location within the site, facing the playground. Cross Laminated Timber (CLT) is used as the main structure of the building and has been left exposed internally, creating a unique, homely character to the school.
The design supports pupils in moving up through the school and on to the junior school, located on a separate site. Nursery enjoy a free-flow environment with a multi-use space and direct access to outdoor play; as the age of pupils progresses this moves towards a suite of defined, focussed learning spaces. The oldest pupils’ “crow’s nest” location looks out over the public square and towards the sister site with classrooms and specialist spaces akin to junior school.
The design embraces the urban location as a valuable learning resource. Picture windows and an external play-bridge offer expansive views of the adjacent railway line, corner windows in the hall look up to the tree canopies of retained trees in the adjacent pocket park.