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Small contributions add up to huge impact at St John’s music pavilion

MacEwen-shortlisted pavilion at St John’s School is an expression of different people’s expertise, says Clementine Blakemore Architects of her first project

Interior of St. John's School Music Pavilion, designed by Clementine Blakemore Architects at Lacey Green, Buckinghamshire. Completed in 2019, the second phase of the project enclosed what was previously an outdoor classroom.
Interior of St. John's School Music Pavilion, designed by Clementine Blakemore Architects at Lacey Green, Buckinghamshire. Completed in 2019, the second phase of the project enclosed what was previously an outdoor classroom. Credit: Will Scott

Building St John’s School Music Pavilion (Phase 2) 

Location Lacey Green, Buckinghamshire 

Architect Clementine Blakemore Architects 

Building type Education 

 

Clementine Blakemore was still a student at the Royal College of Art when she initiated a self-build school music pavilion at St John’s School in the village of Lacey Green.

An alternative model for the delivery of small-scale education buildings, the completed project is testimony to Blakemore’s entrepreneurialism and the power of collaboration. Working closely with the school and local community to raise funds and local support, Blakemore collaborated with both the nearby architecture research and fabrication facility Grymsdyke Farm and with the Architectural Association, which donated the timber.

‘The ethos of the project was about everyone chipping in in a small way and people helping out how they could. It is an expression of different people’s expertise,’ she says.

Inspired by local agricultural buildings, the double-pitched pavilion offers much-needed facilities for teaching music and storing instruments. An outdoor classroom was created, converted into an enclosed music room in the £40,000 second phase.

  • St. John's School Music Pavilion designed by Clementine Blakemore Architects at Lacey Green, Buckinghamshire. Bi-folding doors open the space up to the school landscape.
    St. John's School Music Pavilion designed by Clementine Blakemore Architects at Lacey Green, Buckinghamshire. Bi-folding doors open the space up to the school landscape. Credit: Will Scott
  • The expressed timber reciprocal frame of St. John's School Music Pavilion designed by Clementine Blakemore Architects at Lacey Green, Buckinghamshire. As part of the second phase of the project, the gable ends were clad in polycarbonate panels, with new storage created below.
    The expressed timber reciprocal frame of St. John's School Music Pavilion designed by Clementine Blakemore Architects at Lacey Green, Buckinghamshire. As part of the second phase of the project, the gable ends were clad in polycarbonate panels, with new storage created below. Credit: Will Scott
  • Dusk view of St. John's School Music Pavilion at Lacey Green, Buckinghamshire. Clementine Blakemore initiated the five year project while a student at the Royal College of Art.
    Dusk view of St. John's School Music Pavilion at Lacey Green, Buckinghamshire. Clementine Blakemore initiated the five year project while a student at the Royal College of Art. Credit: Will Scott
  • The double-pitched form of St. John's School Music Pavilion was inspired by the vernacular of local agricultural buildings at Lacey Green, Buckinghamshire.
    The double-pitched form of St. John's School Music Pavilion was inspired by the vernacular of local agricultural buildings at Lacey Green, Buckinghamshire. Credit: Will Scott
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The initial structure was an interlocking timber lattice, hand assembled by students at a two week AA Visiting School workshop and completed by Blakemore and the school caretaker. In the second phase, the back of the frame was clad in polycarbonate and wall cladding was extended to the ground. Insulation was added, and a new front facade with black-stained timber weatherboarding. ­Local designers Jack Chivers and Karina Thomas respectively made low-level storage and benches, and lambs wool panels to improve thermal and acoustic performance.

During construction, Blakemore took children and their parents to Grymsdyke Farm for a workshop inspired by the build.

She has set up her own practice and is keen to work on projects with a public impact and social agenda, particularly enjoying working with timber. ‘It’s been nice for this to be my first project as it’s an expression of the values I want the practice to stand for,’ she says.

Judges were impressed by Blakemore’s ‘remarkable achievement’ of initiating and facilitating the project. ‘Fundraising is so difficult on these kind of things and she has achieved this with its huge social impact. It’s an alternative way of delivering a project and took a lot of energy,’ said Tumpa Husna Yasmin Fellows.


Credits

In numbers  

Cost £40,000 (construction only) 

Area 40 m2  

Cost per m2 £1000 

 

Client St John's School, Lacey Green 

Partners St John's Parents' Association, Grysmdyke Farm, Architectural Association 

Architect Clementine Blakemore Architects 

Structural Engineer Webb Yates 

Contractor (Phase 2) Timber Workshop 

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