Concrete Elegance: New Education Buildings in London

Jessica Mentz, Schmidt Hammer Larssen Architects
Michael Corr, Pie Architects

City of Westminster College
Speaker: Jessica Mentz

The new seven storey building is designed from the inside-out as a series of horizontal floors linked to produce interlocking single and double height spaces and terraces. The floors are orientated around a rotating full height atrium at the heart of the building which brings light into the centre of the spaces. The internal exposed concrete surfaces are balanced by a restrained yet warm palette of materials, mainly light timber panels accented by splashes of colour.

St Joseph's Primary School
Speaker: Michael Corr

The existing 1970s school building has a concrete frame with bush hammered precast concrete paneling and the decision was made early in the design process that the new extensions should be in concrete. The two new extensions are of double skinned insitu concrete construction, each skin poured at the same time with rigid insulation sandwiched between. Externally the concrete has a board marked finish, resulting from varying widths of douglas fir board, echoing the verticality of the existing concrete cladding. Internally the concrete has a smooth matt finish using WISA plywood shuttering, and the generous child height openings and glazed roofs provide a light interior, and glimpses of the existing concrete cladding above. Externally an exposed aggregate concrete with Thames aggregate has been used to form the hardscape surfaces and the rainwater butts.

Chaired by David Bennett

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