A ‘window to the skies’ is the theme at Lilliput First School. New accommodation has been created that address the problem of poor natural light at this school.
We were appointed direct with the Borough of Poole to prepare designs for a new extension and internal remodeling to Lilliput First School. Part of the Borough of Poole’s Primary Capital Programme, the brief required an enhanced and remodeled school for 270 pupils. Our design approach reflected many of the key recommendations of CABE for primary school buildings. The site was constrained by tall trees, resulting in poor internal light levels and limited development options. Our solution focused on providing new, top-lit spaces offering abundant natural light and flexibility. The project also involved a number of smaller interventions in order to transform the existing building, including a new entrance, new classrooms and a new learning resource centre.
The new buildings were designed to be crisp and clean in appearance with an architectural language based on precision and simplicity. Good natural light for the entrance and classroom extensions resulted from generous use of clerestory glazing and roof lights. The new interventions displaced and reconfigured existing volumes to form new spaces. New teaching spaces contained within these folded planes evoke a modern and contemporary architecture. The new proposals were popular pupils, teachers, governors and parents, and helped convey a striking and positive new identity for the school.
An important aspect of our design concept is the desire to maximise opportunities to utilise natural light. Previously the interior of the school suffers from poor daylight levels and we have attempted to turn a site constraint into an opportunity for innovative design. It is widely accepted that good natural daylight leads to feelings of well being and good behavior. Our proposals give the school a striking new identity. Our approach for the front of the school was to create a new entrance – or foyer – that could act as front-of-house to the school. The appearance of the designs were founded on a palette of materials and forms that echoed, yet contrasted, with the architecture of the original 1970’s school. The new entrance building; a new double height foyer, conceived as a folded, metal clad plane, cedar lined internally, provides a ‘gateway’ into the school.