Newsletters: January Extra 2022


Top Project - January Extra 2022

After winning the masterplan competition at North London Collegiate School (NLCS) in 2016, the school asked us to make some improvements to their Junior School building. This is implemented in three phases.

In phase 1, we reconfigured the entrance and administration areas to create a more welcoming arrival and a nicer place for staff to work. The alterations were undertaken during the summer holidays to avoid disruption.

Phase 2 meets the school’s ambition to provide a contemporary space for enquiry-based learning. The new learning hub is at the heart of the school, co-locating books with ICT facilities so that pupils can explore subject interests in greater depth; a useful skill for the projects they will do in the Senior School.

The location for the new hub is a courtyard that was not well used. Flanked by low pitched roofs, the two-storey infill uses a flat roof and low parapets to minimise its visual impact. The internal nature of the project means no natural light can enter at ground floor level, so clerestory windows bring in light to make the double-volume library a bright and airy space. ‘Inhabited’ walls around the perimeter create cosy seating and storage fully integrated with the bookshelves, while glazed screens provide borrowed light and visual connections between the library, adjoining IT room and second IT room on the first floor.

The new learning hub frees up existing spaces for phase 3: music can have its own dedicated teaching space, a small group room is created, and the science classroom can double in size. Since junior science classes do not use harmful substances, experiments of a different kind can also take place here, in food tech lessons and the very popular cookery club.

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Architect: Walters & Cohen Architects
Area: 200m2
Year: 2021
Customer: North London Collegiate School
Impressions: Will Scott Photography