img(height="1" width="1" style="display:none" src="https://www.facebook.com/tr?id=2939831959404383&ev=PageView&noscript=1")

Giving Pegasus Academy wings

Header Image

Words:
Jan-Carlos Kucharek

Internally expressed pitched roofs draw together a fragmented school site

In a sense, the golden TECU-clad exterior of the Pegasus Academy, counterpointing the bricky, late Victorian suburban make-up of Thornton Heath in south London, serves as something of a distraction to the complex spatial plays going on behind its blingtastic walls. But it is also this clever contrast to the existing school buildings that makes architect Hayhurst and Co’s  insertion into and expansion of Whitehorse Manor infant and junior schools so intriguing. Certainly for this rather deprived London suburb, when the Croydon Guardian called it ‘the Golden tooth in Thornton Heath’s smile’, it could only have meant it as a compliment.

1234567891011121314

Hayhurst and Co was charged in 2009 by the London Borough of Croydon with increasing the Whitehorse Manor Schools’ pupil roll from 420 to 630 pupils as part of a three-phase development of the site. Although, in reality, this only meant adding another six classrooms, the real challenge was stitching together a school whose sum was nothing more than a few piecemeal additions to the original Victorian building, with the kind of inherited circulatory logic that resulted in lorries having to reverse directly into the playground to empty the kitchen’s paladins.

The language of the Victorian School is adapted to shape the character of the spaces created

As part of making sense of this ­chaos, the firm looked to the roof form of the original building. Developing what it called a ‘responsive roofscape’, its proposal used the repetition of the roof forms to bring internal logic to the school. As a result, primary classes were gifted with a gaggle of wendy-house scaled pitched roofs, juniors gained a little more headroom and wider pitches, and reception/ welcome spaces, where parents would be in attendance, benefited from the new block’s full height. In this way, the practice claims that ‘the language of the Victorian School is adapted to shape the character of the spaces created... a roofscape intended to animate and excite a playful and stimulating learning environment’.

A ribbon of fire-treated birch ply timber slats forming the new soffits has been used as the design vehicle to spatially unify the school, connecting classrooms to circulation spaces and new to old. So, the architect says, they not only act as a way-finding device, but serve as a temporal one – ‘a shared formal reference point for children progressing through each year-group in the school.’

In a world of school buildings characterised by brash, rumbustious design, Hayhurst and Co’s subtle intervention speaks of another way: a school that looked beyond its own skin-deep facade to reach nuanced and hidden depths.

Credits

Client Jolyon Roberts, Pegasus Academy Trust on behalf of LB Croydon

Architect Hayhurst and Co.

Design team: Nick Hayhurst, Howard Miller, Jonathan Nicholls, Anna Ludwig

Quantity Surveyor: SENSE

Structural engineer Ian Wright Associates

M&E engineer Edward Pearce

Main contractor Kier Wallis, Morgan Sindall

 

 

Suppliers

External cladding TECU-Gold shingles

Timber shingles Western Red Cedar, Silva timber products

Timber slatted ceiling Wisa Twin plywood

Glazing Technal

Flooring Tretford

Latest

Renowned writer and teacher of architectural history inspiring for his erudition, eccentricity and enthusiasm, all generously bestowed, who found poetry in the ordinary and everyday as well as major monuments

Renowned writer and teacher who found poetry in the everyday as well as grand designs

New buildings rarely get a book to themselves, but three slim new volumes tell the story of modest projects in revealing and inventive ways

Three revealing and inventive monographs

Recyclable, lightweight, practical and corrosion resistant - aluminium fenestration solutions are top of the list for energy-efficient construction projects

Recyclable, efficient and durable fenestration solutions

PiP’s interiors selections move from an ecowarrior and petrochemical heiress to Norman Stanley Fletcher via a lavish range of home and hospitality enhancements

Interior ideas for stylish relaxation

James Reeve had to weigh down not just his camera but also himself for his still, silent, submerged photograph of the pool at Rudy Ricciotti’s Côte d’Azur Villa 356

Villa 356, Côte d’Azur, by James Reeve