Kids bowled over by new school
ducks - the Dulwich College Kindergarten and Infants' School - started as a creche for the children of teachers at the college, in a Victorian building belonging to Dulwich Estate. In 1996 a decision was taken to start moving the ducks into the nearby college cricket pavilion, making space for classrooms by building a new pavilion for the bowling club. Shortly after work started, by Frederick Burn David Cook Associates, the new pavilion burned down.
Rapid response from the architect and contractor saved the day, and within six months the new school was handed over. Starting the design from scratch enabled David Cook to produce a far happier junction between the school/cricket pavilion and new bowling club. To hasten the planning process Cook opted for a design which repeated the double-pitch profile and front elevation of the old pavilion. The monopitch bowling pavilion sits at right angles to the east end of the school pavilion.
The building has a timber frame, with concealed steel columns, and cedar- clad prefabricated timber frame panels. Windows and door frames are in Douglas fir, and both roofs have cedar shingles and plywood soffits.
The school entrance faces the cricket pitch and is reached via the veranda which continues as a ramp, past a separate entrance for cricket players and the bowling pavilion. Cricket references cease inside the school. Three of the four classrooms (20 pupils to a class) open on to the playground. A clerestory above the inner classroom walls takes additional light into the plan centre. Glazed double doors to the playground have low-level gates to keep the children inside when the doors are open in summer. The skirting contains electrical and it cabling, and gas-fired central heating is shared with the bowling pavilion. The children's' artwork already covers all available white-painted wall space, and finishes and furniture in the corridors are in bright primary colours.
Photos by Peter Cook/View