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C20 fights to save Cadbury-Brown school

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The Twentieth Century Society (C20) is trying to get a London school designed by H T Cadbury-Brown spot-listed in a bid to save it from demolition.

Islington council wants to bulldoze Ashmount School and build a replacement. However, the preservation group insists the building is architecturally 'ground-breaking' and should be refurbished instead.

Built in the mid-1950s, the combined infant and junior school is considered a prime example of all-glass curtain wall construction using fully glazed spandrels.

Cadbury-Brown overcame the difficulties of building on a sloping site by positioning two blocks at right angles, linked by an assembly hall, kitchen and dining room.

The interior comprises light brick and exposed space frames on upper levels. However, the individual floors are 'barely visible' from the outside and do not conflict with the continuous exterior of the building.

Key architectural features include transparent glazed corners in the main block and the flush meeting of glazing and brickwork elsewhere. The infant school exposes steel section beams - an architectural feature of the Festival of Britain in 1950.

C20 caseworker Cordula Zeidler said: 'The society feels this is a ground-breaking building that should be retained and refurbished rather than replaced. Some of the glazed spandrels have, in the past, been exchanged for the standard blue panels, but much of the building retains its former appearance.'

by Clive Walker

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