Patel Taylor completes highly sustainable community hub in London
Lowther Children's Centre was commissioned to replace an ageing nursery building and merge with the reception class to form a foundation stage learning facility. The £1.4 million budget also included upgrading and reorganising the entrance and the administration spaces of the school, and creating a series of flexible community facilities that will strengthen the schools existing local community connections and boost service provision in the area.
The proposed children's centre is composed of a mono-pitched fluid form element clad in white render with a sedum roof. It reads as a distinct building rather than as an extension to the existing school to keep a clear distinction between old and new and also to fulfill a desire from The School to create a rite of passage for the children graduating into ‘Big School’. An interlocking low level intermediary roof and canopy stitches the new children's centre to the existing building. This lower link piece forms a new welcoming covered entrance into the intermediate space between the existing school and the Children’s Centre. Continuous wall, floor and ceiling surfaces and textures lead you into the building with a seamless transition between inside and out.
The fluid composition of the plan engenders a soft, engaging and deinstitutionalised space. The palette is kept deliberately calm and natural, reinforcing the holistic approach to wellbeing inaugurated by Lowther School. The security screen, playwall, reception desk and lettering combine to form a series of touchstones which guide you through the building adding an extra layer of richness to each of the main spaces.