Christ Church Spitalfields Nursery

East meets West

New Nursery and Community Building Christ Church CE Primary School, Spitalfields

“In itself it is a well-made, well-considered work – a “barn”, as its architects call it, that rises from a low perimeter, scaled to the size of infants, to a spacious central hall. It has a satisfyingly sturdy timber structure, and big glass walls that afford views through to the surrounding greenery.
It is both protective and open, intimate and generous.”

Rowan Moore, The Observer, Sunday 6 October 2013

The city block described by Commercial Street, Brick Lane, Fournier Street and Fashion Street is where east meets west, where art lives, alongside commerce, amongst the community. Fashion Street and Fournier Street provide a clear passage, whilst Christ Church, the community gardens, back gardens, back extensions, boundary walls, the primary school and its playgrounds describe a mixed transition.

This central reservation of use, division and interaction between West and East is about where things meet. For the school, it’s about opportunity, learning and security. For the neighbourhood, it’s a heart of gold.

Five years ago, this wonderful place was disjointed, dishevelled and underused. The public garden is small, open daily, the community gardens and youth centre were shut, the playgrounds and school undersized and under capacity. The Primary School on Brick Lane faces east, Christ Church Gardens faces west and the back of both had become a patch for shadowy behaviour since the Youth Centre closed.

The vision of the church, school, council and community has been to unify the site with the new nursery & community building as a hub. In this particular place, the new building makes a new west face for the school and a welcoming east end of the gardens, a broad walled walk next to the church, a stepped back sheltered invitation from Fournier Street and an open and secure west end to the school playgrounds.

Made up of community rooms, a small hall and the youngest school classes, the new building is a garden structure, timber, glass and zinc against a brick wall, a sort of squashed aisled barn, opening out to encourage direct relationships between those using the crypt, the gardens, the playgrounds and from Fournier Street in-between.

The Garden Building

In the summer of 2016 a ten day legal hearing took place regarding our Garden Building (a Consistory Court met in the crypt of our church) Attached here is the court judgement that was issued in February 2017. On pages 5 and 497 we are instructed to place it here for public availability until 16 May 2017.

Click for the Judgment: Spitalfields Judgment Final

Service: Architects

Location: Spitalfields, London

Client: London Diocesan Board for Schools, Christ Church CE Primary School

Cost: £1.3m

Areas: School extension 110m2, listed primary school 1,100 m2 , nursery and community building 330m2Dates: Consultation, January 2010 – February 2011, Listed Building Consent, November 2010, Planning Permission August 2011, Faculty Consent February 2012, Construction February 2011 – August 2011, May 2012 – September 2013

Architect: SCABAL [Studio Cullinan And Buck Architects Ltd]

Building Conservation Consultant: Kay Pilsbury Thomas Architects

Landscape Architect: Latz + Partner

Quantity Surveyor: Sawyer and Fisher

Structural Engineer: Heyne Tillett Steel

Archaeology: Museum of London Archaeology

Acoustic Engineer: Gillieron Scott Acoustic Design

Building Services: Pinnacle EPS

Building Control: BBS

CDM: PBS Consulting UK

Arboriculture: Phelps Associates

Main Contractor: DGH Construction Ltd

Photos: Gareth Gardner and Caterina Ragg


The Observer, Sunday 6 October 2013 New Review, Architecture, Love thy new neighbour?
by Rowan Moore

Building Design, Friday 11 October 2013 Dissenting Beliefs, Building Study by Ellis Woodman

BD online news Friday 04 October 2013

Private Eye N0. 1327, 16 November 2012

Building Design, Friday 27 May 2011 News Analysis by Oliver Wainwright

Private Eye N0. 1289, 27 May 2011

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