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For a project of any size funded by a local authority and consistent with the government's Better Public Building programme. Sponsored by NEC suite of engineering contracts.

The public face of John Perry Children's Centre consists of a rectangular hard-shell brick enclosure built using semi-glazed bricks imported from the Netherlands. This sets the building apart from the adjacent primary school, erected using local bricks many years ago.

Inside the shell, a meandering corridor interspersed with open meeting areas with a mix of brightly coloured render and pale timber cladding provides a welcome change from the echoing passages of traditional institutional buildings.

The children's centre is also flooded with light.

Natural light comes from the extensive use of clerestory windows, from a polycarbonate south wall and from a glazed courtyard set near the centre of the steel-framed building. On the south side, a secluded outside play area is arranged so that each studio-like classroom can, weather permitting, merge into the open air.

Client London Borough of Barking & Dagenham Cost £1.2 million Principal designer DSDHA Engineer Price & Myers Contractor Lakehouse, Romford

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