Caruso St John Architects

2001–2005
Location: London, GB
Client: Westminster City Council
Project Status: Built

This project is an extension to a much-loved modernist icon, grade 2 star listed and one of Denys Lasdun’s earliest works.

Six new junior classrooms and three infants' classrooms were required to replace temporary accommodation which had been on the site for more than 25 years. Our design for two compact buildings, one for the junior school and one for the infants, allows each to be next to its own part of the school and preserves the playground spaces. We have placed each building as close to its neighbour as possible, so that the spaces between have shape and intimacy, as is the case with Lasdun’s composition. The new buildings appear to have joined the group, carefully closing off views from the centre of the site as if they are the last pieces of a complicated jigsaw.

The plans of the new buildings form spiralling clusters of three major rooms, where each classroom is on a corner with a wide aspect over the site. The large windows to the hallways and generous glazing at the doors to the classrooms allow glimpses across the deep floors from room to hall to outside, such that the interiors feel very open and full of activity.