Spring Park Children's Centre

Client: LB Croydon
Contract value: £800,000
Completed: 2009

We were commissioned by London Borough of Croyon in 2007 to design a new Children’s Centre within the grounds of Spring Park Primary School in Shirley.  Following an extensive consultation exercise with the school and local community during the feasibility phase, a location was selected in an underused area of the site near to the southern boundary, adjacent to an area of trees and dense undergrowth.  A new pedestrian and vehicle entrance in the perimeter the site which will connect to the end of an existing cul-de-sac road, Lilac Gardens.  A secondary new pedestrian entrance from the main road at the front of the school links to the centre via a new woodland path.  We carried out a detailed transport assessment exercise to demonstrate to the local planning authority that traffic generated by the centre would not cause problems in the road and wider area.

The single storey building has a simple rectilinear form with a flat roof, chosen to echo the existing brick 1950s school buildings, and to take best advantage of the prefabricated timber frame construction, chosen for speed on site and good sustainability credentials.  It is clad in horizontal cedar boarding, providing a tactile, natural material quality with a distinct identity from the rest of the school, and a natural character that links to the wooded nature of this part of the school.  The entrance porch and front door is picked out in brightly coloured render, identifying it as the front door, and making it clearly visible from the Lilac Gardens.  Projecting canopies, relating to key play spaces within the building, are designed to be read as an extension of roof depth and have a timber-clad fascia, concealing a pitched translucent polycarbonate soffit beyond.

The project is being constructed under a Design and Build contract, with MGA acting as Employer’s Agent, and is due to be completed at the end of May 2009.