Fortune Green, Camden

Client: International British Schools
Value: £1.5M
Status: Planning

The project is unusual for a school being that the fit out is the conversion of 1096m² of leisure and retail space currently split in to three units in a mixed use development. As sites in London for schools become less abundant both clients and Architects must be creative in where they can see opportunities. The project provides 7 classrooms for 180 students between the ages of 8 to 13, a central hall, music rooms, science lab, art room, library and administrative hub with additional break out space for reading, art, role play and break times.

The concept of a central space circulated with simple vernacular forms arose from the irregular plan form of the existing building, the historic precedent of the gypsy camp on fortune green, a typical English village square and the simple childlike roof forms depicted in Paul Klee’s ‘Picture of a City’.

The concept is to create a ‘home from home’ fit out installation that interprets familiar visual metaphors to create a secure learning environment with a homely feel. The design brings together the fragmented site by the use of the simplified house shaped interventions that unify the teaching and administrative spaces fitting within the 5m heights. Within the main hall light fittings hang like clouds from the painted exposed soffit which acts as the sky with the ground finish using a unifying green colour to create an outdoor space inside and give the students a sense of adventure and excitement.

One of the key aspects of the project was how the school would fit in with the surrounding environment and provide a connection to the adjacent Fortune Green whilst providing visual security and daylight to the occupants. By removing the existing glass block walls we allowed natural light to spill in to the deep span space and over the classrooms to the hall set behind. The new glass facades are to have the schools core values written in reflective film which respond the surrounding environment and particularly the changing seasons of the green. Roller blinds allow for additional solar comfort, glare control and privacy.