Chingford Hall Learning Support Centre

Great Adaptations

“The design team was crucial in bringing the LEA and the school together as a positive and creative force.”

Nitin Parshotam, project manager

“Cullinan And Buck’s transformation of a seventies Essex primary school is proof that new-builds are not necessarily the way forward. The appointment of CABAL was a brave choice but a smart one. Although the practice has built relatively little, it has played a significant role in developing national policy on school design…

Ellis Woodman Building Design, Friday January 9 2004

Conversion and refurbishment of existing system-built Primary School into Learning Support Centre, Chingford Hall, London

CABAL’s interventions are ranged across the whole campus… A new dividing wall has been introduced. This could have proved a mean and disruptive gesture, but CABAL has made something extraordinary of it. Faced in a startling twin-ply cork tile (the front layer of which is perforated, exposing patches of the rear layer, which is stained red), the wall demonstrates a cheerful disregard for the orthogonal logic of the original design. As it undulates along the length of the building, it even crashes into a couple of existing skylights.

The continuity of the space on either side of the wall is further articulated by carrying the chequerboard linoleum flooring used in the corridor into the classroom before making the switch to carpet. This is a practical decision – defining a wet zone of washrooms and coat-hanging space between the classrooms and the corridor – but it also contributes to a delicate sense that the boundary between the classroom and the world beyond is negotiated rather than imposed.

A covered play area, which can be used even when it is wet outside, has been created by installing a canopy in an existing courtyard of the primary school. This is a perfectly modest structure but one invested with an easy magic through the choice of translucent pink polycarbonate roofing.”

Ellis Woodman Building Design, Friday January 9 2004

Service: Architects

Location: Chingford Hall, London

Client: Chingford Hall Primary School and the London Borough of Waltham Forest

Cost: £1.1m

Areas: 1970s junior school remodelled into 1fe primary school 2000sqm, 1970s infant school remodelled into pupil referral unit 1050sqm, playgrounds and canopy 7500sqm

Dates: Completed October 2003

Contract: JCT98 With Quantities & Contractors Design Supplement

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