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FIRST LOOK

Sarah Wigglesworth extends Camden primary school through creative collaboration

  • 2 Comments

The £1.3 million extension is the result of a collaboration between the practice and client design advisor Architects Collaborative

Sarah Wigglesworth Architects has designed an extension to Kingsgate Primary School in West Hampstead, London. The client appointed Architects Collaborative to act on its behalf, and the advisory firm developed the brief and a masterplan while the team at Sarah Wigglesworth Architects designed the buildings and managed delivery. 

Camden Council chose Kingsgate for expansion after identifying a need for more pupil places in a relatively deprived part of the borough. The site didn’t have sufficient space for all its pupils in addition to proposed extra places, so a second site was acquired, freeing up the existing building for Key Stage 2 pupils only. This provided an opportunity to make alterations to meet the needs of the older children and create a learning environment dedicated to sport, learning and play. 

Key Stage 1 pupils are housed in the new extension, which contains a multipurpose studio, library and community entrance with accessible WC. 

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Designed to enhance the school’s relationship with the adjacent Kilburn Grange Park, the school’s new frontage to the park provides opportunities for community access with a possible future entrance from the park side. The spaces within provide views out towards the trees and beyond, while spacious pitched ceiling heights allow daylight in from all directions. The architect has used a palette of treated timber cladding and zinc roofing to address the setting of the park, establishing a contrasting between the extension and the existing buildings. 

Taking inspiration from the existing building, the extension features pop-out dormer windows and gabled elevations. Low-level window frames form reading spaces and high-level windows and rooflights provide views of the sky.

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Architect’s view

Working with Ann Griffin of Architects Collaborative has proven how, when it comes to education projects that have forward-thinking clients such as Camden Council, collaboration produces astonishing results. Architects Collaborative, acting for LB Camden, was instrumental in initiating the project and developing the brief and site-wide masterplan, while the team at Sarah Wigglesworth Architects designed the buildings and managed the process of delivery. We are all proud of the result, which offers a wonderful new learning environment for the pupils and staff.

Sarah Wigglesworth, director, Sarah Wigglesworth Architects

One of the main challenges was constructing the extension while the school was in operation. On a physically constrained site, the construction programme had to work around the school timetable and deliver the completed extension quickly. The solution was to use structurally insulated panels (SIPs) for the building fabric. These had the advantage of being prepared offsite and then craned into place, condensing the construction programme and minimising the number of deliveries to site. 

Katherine Terry, project architect, Sarah Wigglesworth Architects

5 kingsgate ps elevations1

Project data

Start on site August 2017
Completion July 2018
Gross internal floor area 250m²
Construction cost £1.3 million
Architect Sarah Wigglesworth Architects
Client design advisor Ann Griffin, Architects Collaborative
Client The London Borough of Camden
Structural engineer Price & Myers
M&E consultant MLM
QS Baqus
Project manager London Borough of Camden
Building control London Borough of Camden
Main contractor Rooff
CAD software used Vectorworks

  • 2 Comments

Readers' comments (2)

  • I do hope the architect made it perfectly clear to the client that considerable sums will need to be budgeted for the future maintenance of the timber cladding.
    It will look atrocious in a few years.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Surely the type of timber and type of treatment could - if it's been carefully specified, detailed and fixed - make future maintenance less of a risk than you assume - certainly compared to that of some of the recent timber clad roofs illustrated in the AJ.

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