Clarence House Preparatory School Design Architecture (Rob’s draft)

A Traditional building with a chocolate box interior forming specialist school design architecture.

The Clarence House Preparatory School is a new school within a Grade II listed building conversion. The building, previously one of Barclay’s bank locations, consists of three listed buildings housed together. SpaceShapers architects then took the layout of the traditional shell and designed the new school building. The building has since artfully transformed into a luxurious school plan. The new preparatory school for girls provides learning accommodation for classes at primary level (7 to 11 years old). Together with offering numerous specialist subject areas and rooms to allow for a diverse and specialist education. The high quality built environment intends to provide cross-discipline support spaces for integrated learning. For a range of school activities including, learning, brainstorming, performance, design and sports.

A smorgasbord of delight set within a beautifully restored Georgian built environment.

The view into the listed Georgian facade at night is stunning. Presenting a rich diversity of colourful spaces poking through the classically framed windows. The Mural in the science laboratory splashes out colour and inspirational to the cohort inside. The reception area shows the metallic contrast of the backlit corten rusted steel desk in front of a brushed steel and walnut staircase. The Design and Technology classroom window dresses the rustic wooden benches with a neon orange light beyond next to walls of tools. The art room shows easels with balloon-shaped lights beyond the brainstorming spaces. Elsewhere, in the art room are colourful ideas walls are with book-shelved lined walls.

A traditional built environment that pushes school design architecture boundaries.

The beautiful Grade II listed Georgian structures which the client (Jack and Jill Schools) inherited an already butchered shell from the building’s previous life as a bank. This building did not have safeguarding listed status at the time. As such, the shell needed renovating extensively to bring back its original vigour and status. To also satisfy the standard building for the area and be a welcome addition of rest of the buildings in the leafy and affluent London suburb of Teddington on Hampton Hill.

The client’s brief requested interlinking spaces to provide project-based learning environments. Interlinking spaces around group project-based classrooms are aimed to facilitate idea generation to push curriculum boundaries. In conjunction with the standard classrooms within the school to offer integrated learning approaches at the school.

The team at SpaceShapers Architects quickly grappled with the challenge and opened up the ground floor. A central vertical connecting staircase with brainstorming spaces on each level addressed the needs of the brief. Importantly to further support the client objective adding in glazed links to the internal spaces, blackboard walls, libraries and lounging furniture to the building. Results, in assisted with creating the kinds of environments to facilitate idea generation in group project work prior to formal tuition. The school plan allowed for ease of circulation and wayfinding around the school building. As well for each set of classrooms and specialist education spaces a focal point.

Each of the specialist spaces is given a very separate identity through the exploration of ideas with the children.

The Maker Space for design and technology work opens up through glazed walling to the reception areas. Ideal for showcasing the workings of the school upon formal entry. The neon sign was a much-loved idea of the children who explored numerous font types and graphics. After exploring and expressing ideas about the sign, the children settled on a design they liked with the help of the SpaceShapers Architects.

The science laboratory inspiration comes from science museum exhibitions for children.

Based on using colour to incite excitement and wonder through a bespoke mural. Denoting the main science topics the children would cover throughout their education at the school. The formal yet colourful laboratory benches help produce a backdrop to the eye-catching mural and Georgian French windows. The indoor laboratory space mergers onto the balcony beyond the windows.

The performance space design reflects the character of a dance studio.

Maple sprung flooring and mirrored walls reflecting the traditional Georgian glazing beyond. The studio acts as a music, drama and sports facility for small groups. Supported through local community facilities by the rear play areas, parklands behind the school and theatre in front of the school.

The top floor houses a naturally lit space for the art studio,  a line of lighting balloons floating along the wall and are visible upon entering the room.  Central, to the art room design, comes from optimising the room design to get the best natural lighting possible for its function at the top of the school building.

Overall, the built environment acts more like an education estate which relates to the local community facilities in supporting the curriculum requirements. The school plan is interconnected, diverse and also lesson of how to make the most of listed building constraints. Working with the structural limitations through simple design elements and insertions which form a lovely little boutique school plan. The project at Clarence House School received praise for SpaceShapers Architects in the form of a award. SpaceShapers Architects won The BUILD Award – Best Educational Architecture Design Project (London 2019), well deserved everyone!

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Jack and Jill Schools
January 2019
Twickenham, London
© SpaceShapersArchitects 2018