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Curl la Tourelle Head Architecture completes pavilion on Peckham Rye

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The £2 million playroom combines leisure and community facilities in a south London park

Commissioned by the London Borough of Southwark, the structure has been designed to bring improved public infrastructure to Peckham Rye, sitting next to the River Peck and a community playground.

The building provides a playroom, kitchen, public toilet and storage space, as well as new leisure facilities in the form of much-needed changing rooms and a football referees office.

973 Kitchen

Peckham Playroom by Curl la Tourelle Head Architecture

The building plan wraps around a horse chestnut tree and offers shelter from the sun and rain in the form of large overhanging eaves. Structured in large-format laminated timber to ensure a low-carbon project or ‘carbon sink’, the front elevation is partly clad in ceramic tiles with inlaid typography by collaborator Fraser Muggeridge Studios, spelling out ‘change’ and ‘play’.

This area at the front of the site is shaped rather like a small forum and has become a popular stopping point for children to play and dog walkers to gather.

Architect’s view

This was an interesting project for an inspiring client, built on Peckham’s listed parkland where children gather to play around the trees. Within a limited budget, the challenge was to deliver a kit of timber parts into the park (in winter) with minimum disruption and environmental impact to the sensitive, nature-filled space.

The original idea was to produce a pavilion which is shaped by and complements its natural setting, one of London’s oldest parks. We proposed a concept of ‘open corners’, whereby the building could be seen from the adjacent fields, playgrounds and cycle/footways. 

The form takes its aesthetic cues from London’s plentiful Victorian park pavilions with steep pitched roof, deep overhanging eaves and a prominent entrance portal to the sheltered playroom.

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Peckham Playroom by Curl la Tourelle Head Architecture

Internally the building looks to provide clear layouts for two groups of very different users, the first being generous changing and meeting spaces for local footballers. The new playroom adjoins with golden timber-lined spaces, maximum daylight and views overlooking the surrounding landscape. We felt it to be important that a building which for many will be their first experience of shared public architecture should come with a sense of natural light, natural material, natural ventilation and colour-filled joy!

Wayne Head, director, Curl la Tourelle Head Architecture

Project data

Start on site April 2017
December 2017
Gross internal floor area 310m²
Form of contract Design and Build
Project value £2.2 million
Architect Curl la Tourelle Head Architecture
London Borough of Southwark
Employer’s agent Faithful + Gould
Structural engineer CLT: Furness Partnership, Foundation: MLM Group
M&E consultant BSE3D
Quantity surveyor/cost consultant Faithful + Gould
Landscape architect Turkington Martin
Graphic designer Fraser Muggeridge
Project manager 
Faithful + Gould
CDM principal designer Faithful + Gould
Approved building inspector 
Quadrant Approved Inspectors
Main contractor Neilcott Construction Ltd
CAD software used Vectorworks

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