Tree canopy

New Early Years provision for St Elizabeth RC Primary School, Bethnal Green, London

This project came about in two phases.

Phase One is the replacement of a tired nursery with a spectacular new building conceived as a tree canopy minimising the difference between inside and outside so children can learn and play freely in both.

The free-form wooden roof structure is based on Palladio’s principles of reciprocity for employing short timber sections to make large spans and it was inspired by the trained trees in the town square of Labouheyre, a village in the Haute Lande district of France. This artificial canopy holds a ceiling of acoustic cushions and is supported by loosely placed steel trees painted a blue taken from Le Corbusier. Corrugated pink GRP tops the whole with a single shape.

Phase Two is the remodelling of the existing inter-war east wing of the school to transform two reception class bases and integrate them with the new nursery making a Foundation Stage Base for the school’s youngest children.

Both Phases are funded through LCVAP grants approved for the school over two financial years.

Place de Liberte, Labouheyre, Haute Lande, Sud de France


Service: Architects

Location: London, Bethnal Green

Client: Diocese of Westminster & St Elizabeth RC Primary School

Cost: New Nursery £525k

Reception (remodelled 1930S building) £480k

Areas: New Nursery 185m2

Reception remodelled 275m2

Dates: New Nursery Planning March 2012, full design, tender & construction March 2012 – July 2013, Reception remodelled from July –October 2013

To Live In   To Learn In   To Work In   To Play In