Kingsgate Primary School

This imaginative extension to a primary school in West Hampstead provides a new resource block incorporating flexible, well lit spaces for performance, assembly, sport and study.

The proposal astutely references the existing buildings and reinstates the school’s relationship with the adjacent Kilburn Grange Park by using a palette of natural materials.

Client: Kingsgate Primary School
Completion: 2018 
Cost: undisclosed 
Location: Camden, London

2019 LABC Awards: Best Educational Building (highly commended)
Context and scale

The existing school buildings are Victorian and include the main two storey ‘board school’ building and a separate single storey building built as a nursery. This building has a distinctly dinkier feel to the main block, relating to the scale of the young children using it. The roof is broken down into several smaller elements with a distinctive ridge line to the main hall and pyramid shaped hipped roofs to the corners which create small pavilion like structures. Our new addition draws from the scale and expression of these elements to define the new hall and library.

The new roof pitch sensitively responds to the existing built form. The high ceilinged studio mirrors the existing hall and the new plywood lining unites both spaces. The library roof marks the entrance from both the park and the playground, as well as the change in scale from the hall to the library. Timber cladding creates a clear distinction between the existing school and the new addition.

Dynamic learning environment

Designed with children in mind, we have incorporated playful windows that draw in daylight from every aspect. Small niches and window seats provide internal and external places for children to sit and read. High level windows capture views of the sky, the clouds and the trees beyond and assist with natural ventilation.

“(The extension) has changed the way the children have PE, assemblies, workshops. . . The height of the ceiling makes a huge difference. The double hall space and the size of the library especially with the reading corner.”

Shelley Dunbar School Business Manager, Kingsgate Primary School

Photos by Beccy Lane