AY Architects


Montpelier Community Nursery for Camden Community Nurseries, London

The architects were key to the vision for this nursery in Kentish Town which is why it was delivered without compromise and produces an all-encompassing educational experience. The location is a park set back from the street surrounded by rear gardens walls and a detached house used as a special school. The building is designed to maximise sunlight, with a part-glazed saw tooth roof orientated north-south. The form of the building is shaped to fill the permitted footprint and opens onto a part-sheltered play area. Internally the rooms are treated as giant furniture items working against the geometry of the structure. They are cleverly designed and easily navigable by a small child. The selection of materials was a key part of the success. The black stained Siberian larch cladding allows the nursery to sit inconspicuously in amongst the treescape and contrasts with the white-washed internal timber against which the playful objects to come to life.

“It supports a pedagogic ethos of inclusivity, free play, learning through nature and ecological responsibility. It is designed around a flexible play space opening onto a wooded outdoor play area that forms part of the community gardens. Like a pavilion with seamless connections with the landscape, it encourages indoor/outdoor flow of learning activities. Support spaces wrap around the central space and form a solid perimeter to the public land. Daylight is brought into the building through strip windows located within the roof. The roof windows have a north-south orientation, spanning the floor plan diagonally. Deep overhangs allow passive solar heat gain during times of the year as needed but block out high summer sun. The roof windows also provide natural ventilation. The superstructure is made up of pre-fabricated solid timber panel system with a white-washed internal factory finish. The exterior is clad with dark stained FSC timber boarding and the roof supports a biodiversity sedum blanket.”

AY Architects
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