• Walker Primary School, Southgate, London

    Walker Primary School, Southgate, London
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Walker Primary School

The project was for a new, predominately two storey building to replace an existing 1950’s 2 Form Entry primary school as part of the Department for Education Priority School Building Programme, funded by the Department for Education. The client required an off-site lightweight modular structure, with on-site cladding and fit-out, to minimise construction time and disruption to the school.

Date
2021

Client
Spatial Initiative

Value
£6m


The L-shaped footprint of the building was largely determined by the need to accommodate a temporary school during construction together with need to retain several significant trees. At the same time, efficiency in terms of module sizes was maintained, whilst also ensuring that all room sizes and adjacencies conformed to the extremely tight and exacting DfE brief.

The school is in a relatively rural setting on a prominent site in the Southgate Green Conservation Area facing a Listed George Gilbert Scott church. As the Conservation Officer considered modular construction likely to produce a flat featureless building detrimental to the Conservation Area, our strategy was to develop a modular design that reflected the colours, form and massing of the surroundings.

The building echoes the mottled stonework of the church opposite by using three shades of cream/grey corium brick tiles with areas of limestone cladding, whilst green glazed brick panels and bronze aluminium windows pick up the colours of the surrounding trees. The façade was highly modulated to reflect the scale of the nearby Georgian houses, with L-shaped brick tiles and varying cavity widths used to give depth.  A colonnade was incorporated at the school entrance to avoid the roots of the prominent oak tree at the front of the site. The school logo is a pixelated image of this tree and is reproduced in brickwork on the front elevation.

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The Challenge

Designing a building to suit a highly sensitive site within a conservation whilst retaining the use and benefits of an off-site modular construction system. The building needed to complement both the neighbouring cricket pitch and surrounding Listed buildings including a George Gilbert Scott church and two 18th Century villas.

The Solution

We used the modular construction to develop a highly modulated front façade responding to the massing and proportions of the surrounding buildings. Grey brick, green glazed brick and stone cladding were chosen to present a modern solution whilst echoing the colours and textures of the stone church and rural setting.

The Outcome

Following initial resistance to the use of a modular solution in this setting, the scheme was developed following extensive consultation with the Conservation Officer and Conservation Area Advisory Group. This enabled us to arrive at an aesthetic that was considered to be an asset to the Conservation Area.