Landscape as a tool for teaching inner city kids
London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham
Cambridge School, Bond Bryan Architects
Maximising external spaces to deliver the Schools’ ethos of inclusivity, creativity and sensory experiences.
Located within the heart of White City, the existing school site had limited external spaces with minimal opportunities for pupils to engage with the natural environment. Collaborating closely with the school, pupils’ and architects was vital to the inclusive design approach, encouraging pupils to take ownership of their spaces and engage with the landscape in a meaningful manner.
Working closely with the architectural design and in line with the school’s key values – the landscape design proposals sought to create a framework of flexible ‘green’ spaces adaptable to curriculum needs.
Development of sensory integration in Cambridge builds on a model that enables students to better access learning opportunities through a range of sensory spaces including natural light, smell, touch, and growing. A key element of the design is the integration of the adjoining Phoenix School Farm which will support opportunities for pupils to learn about food production with a community café incorporated into the school to encourage community engagement and offers a potential funding source.
Working closely with Bond Bryan Architects, founder director Phil Deacon developed the landscape concept to include greater interaction with the natural environment using building materials and green walls to soften the building footprint. A unique series of roof gardens provide breakout spaces for the surrounding classrooms.
Surrounded by natural light, these calming courtyard gardens provide a green backdrop for the classrooms. Responding to the need for greater flexibility, the proposals for the roof gardens including moveable planters and seating; scope for tree planting for dappled shade; and high-level wires to support climbing plants, artwork, and feature lighting.
To respond to the need for greater flexibility, the layouts for the roof gardens made provision for planters and seating that could be moved around by pupils and staff to create different spaces with scope for tree planting to provide dappled shade during summer months.