Abacus Belsize Primary School

Following previous successful collaborations, Kier London approached WGI with the opportunity to design a permanent home for Abacus Belsize Primary School in the London Borough of Camden. The selected site offers a great opportunity to reuse the fine, historic, Grade II listed 1913 Police Station and attached Magistrates Court as a two form entry school. The brief, to convert and extend the building on the listed site, provides a number of constraints and exciting challenges. It requires the ability to understand how to best capitalise on the inherent qualities of the existing building while also creating a school which functions as a learning environment.
WGI are leading the design team to create an affordable and buildable solution on the constrained site within the Conservation Area, which is in a highly regarded residential area. One part of the process has been to conduct pre-planning consultations with planning, conservation and highways officers as well as local residents, staff, parents, pupils and stakeholders.
The design is centred on the Grade II listed building, creating spaces within the existing fabric which are suitable for learning environments whilst providing an extension to the rear to provide the larger communal school. A play deck is accommodated on the roof of the extension to dissipate and reduce any acoustic disturbance to neighbouring properties which also enables external space at ground level to be used for external learning; a key part of the ethos and curriculum at Abacus Belsize Primary School. The new extension distinguishes itself from the listed building through the materiality to preserve the conservation of the existing building.
The new school is set to open its doors in 2017.

Date: Ongoing
Location: Hampstead, London
Client: Kier London
Value: £7m
Service: Architecture, Interiors, Landscaping: Full Design