Walker Primary School

Project

Walker Primary School

Main contractor

ESS Modular

Architects

JM Architects

Year complete

2021

Overview

Built to ensure that pupils and staff are provided with modern teaching facilities which meet national standards, Walker Primary School has been recently completed using the Corium brick cladding system. Designed by jmarchitects and managed by ESS Modular, the new school features a large sports hall, ICT suite and kitchen facilities over two storeys, ready to be used by the school’s 421 pupils.

Situated in a relatively rural setting on a prominent site in the Southgate Green Conservation Area, the school is bordered by the historic Walker Cricket Ground. Under the Department for Education Priority School Building Programme 2, this project sought the demolition of an unsightly and failing school building and construction of a new two storey school block that would make a positive visual contribution to the conservation area.

The new Walker Primary School in the London Borough of Enfield has achieved a BREEAM New Construction 2018 rating of ‘Very Good’ and has been shortlisted for an award at the 2021 Brick Awards. The Brick Awards are an esteemed international award and presents outstanding brick architecture from all around the world.

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Concept

Due to the site’s conservation area location, plans for the new building were initially deferred in December 2018, after concerns were raised that the design could harm the protected surroundings. Additional care was therefore required to ensure the school development met the expectations of the planning committee.

The mid-20th century building, located in the Greater London countryside, is surrounded by significant trees and hedges and faces a Historic England Grade II listed church. These two elements had considerable influence on the new school design with jmarchitects developing a thoughtful facade that reflects the colours, form and massing of the surroundings.

Replacing the mix of brick, painted render and timber panelling, the building now echoes the mottled stonework of the church opposite by using three shades of cream and grey Corium brick tiles. Areas of limestone cladding were included to complement the stone featured on the neighbouring church, while green glazed brick slip panels and bronze aluminium windows pick up the shifting colours of the surrounding trees.

The facade was highly modulated to reflect the scale of the nearby Georgian houses, with L-shaped brick tiles and varying cavity widths used to give depth to the building’s understated form. A colonnade was also incorporated at the school entrance to avoid the roots of the prominent oak tree at the front of the site, a crucial factor during the planning process.

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Project Completion

As the project was developed within both planning and time constraints, an intense period of consultation with both the school, local authority and main contractors, ESS Modular was required. In partnership with ESS Modular, Taylor Maxwell worked to find a cladding solution that would accommodate Walker Primary School’s offsite modular construction and design requirements.

Corium brick cladding was an ideal choice as its lightweight system allowed for the facade to be prefabricated under quality-controlled factory conditions, delivered to site and installed efficiently without the need for substantial finishing on site. This allowed for a prompt project completion date, avoiding disruption to the school curriculum and the student’s enjoyment of their new building. Corium brick cladding tiles are available in over 2,500 finishes, with the option to develop bespoke blends for projects with intricate design elements such as those seen on Walker Primary School’s fascia.

Corium is a sustainable cladding product, helping the project achieve its ‘Very Good’ BREEAM rating. Corium brick slips are produced as a finished product, reducing the quantity of material lost to waste through cutting. Lightweight, efficiently installed and 100% recyclable, the tiles positively contribute to the Life Cycle Assessment that ensured the materials selected had a low environmental impact (including embodied carbon), over the life cycle of the building.

Walker Primary School is now a state-of-the-art school that caters for the needs of children, families and the community, supporting the student’s improved education while benefitting the local conservation area and its historic sites.

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