Fawood Children’s Centre
Alsop Architects

June 06, 2005 /

London, United Kingdom

Photo: Alan Lai/Alsop & Partners

The vast shed-like enclosure contains brightly colored classroom units interspersed with protected external play areas.

The new Fawood Children's Centre provides, under one roof, a nursery for 3-5 year olds, nursery facilities for autistic and special needs children, and a Children's Centre with adult learning services.

The primary structure is a trapezoid shed enclosure, which takes the form of a steel portal frame structure with a deep overhanging roof, formed of a mix of opal polycarbonate roof cladding and bright pink powder-coated profiled steel cladding, on galvanized steel purlins and portal frame.

Photo: Alan Lai/Alsop & Partners

Photo: Roderick Coyne/Alsop & PartnersThe "walls" are formed of two types of stainless steel mesh; the lower part of the wall uses a denser mesh to enhance the building security, the upper levels feature curtains of lightweight mesh that are modulated into rippling curves by elliptical colored acrylic "lozenges".

Photo: Roderick Coyne/Alsop & Partners

Photo: Roderick Coyne/Alsop & Partners

The internal accommodation for the nursery is provided by a number of recycled shipping containers painted in bright colors and decorated with applied artwork.
Three groups of three-story shipping container structures are connected by walkways, projecting balconies, lift and steel staircases. The containers have been fitted with under-floor heating and simple finishes to provide efficient and low cost classroom space.

Photo: Alan Lai/Alsop & Partners

Photo: Roderick Coyne/Alsop & Partners

A brightly colored Mongolian Yurt, a canvas tented structure, provides a colorful focus to the interior.

Photo: Roderick Coyne/Alsop & Partners

Designed to be used as outdoor rooms, the spaces between the containers include a piazza with timber decking surrounded by a willow tunnel, a soft play area, a tree house, an outdoor stage area, water gardens and a climbing platform.

Photo: Alan Lai/Alsop & Partners

The roof and the mesh together shelter and secure all the indoor nursery functions, outdoor play areas, and circulation spaces.

The combination of built and adapted internal environments has permitted a rapid construction program, and a flexible response to the demands of the daily activities of very young children, at a relatively low cost.

Drawing courtesy Alsop & PartnersGround Floor Plan
Drawing courtesy Alsop & PartnersFirst Floor Floor Plan
Drawing courtesy Alsop & PartnersSection
An integral part of the overall masterplan for the Stonebridge estate, in North London, the Fawood Children's Centre will eventually be sited within a new park in Stonebridge, where it will act as a focal point in the landscape.

Planned demolition of the neighbouring housing blocks will take place in 2007 and a new park will be developed.

Drawing courtesy Alsop & PartnersProposed Site Plan

Facts about Fawood Children’s Centre


Alsop & Partners

Structural Engineers:

Adams Kara Taylor

Mechanical & Electrical Engineers:

Fulcrum Consulting (pre-construction)
Pinnacle Building Services (post-construction)

Project Artist:

Joanna Turner

Lighting Designer:

Janet Turner

Design and Build Contractor:

Durkan Construction


Stonebridge Housing Action Trust

Total area: 1,220 m2
Covered play area on ground floor: 430 m2
Enclosed accommodation on three floors: 620 m2

Last updated: December 19, 2013

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