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Woodland Classrooms, Belvue School

Woodland Classrooms, Belvue School

Education & Public Sector

Location: Northolt
Architect: Studio Weave
Client/Owner: Belvue School
Structural Engineer: Timberwright
Main Contractor: IMS Building Solutions
M&E Consultant: Arup
Project Managers: Jackson Coles
Roofing Sub-contractor: VMZinc
Wood Supplier: T. Brewer
Wood Species: Western red cedar (Canada)

Belvue School is a secondary school for students with moderate to severe learning difficulties and a range of other needs. 150sqm of extracurricular spaces, with domestic quality and intimate scale, have been built on a modest budget. The boundary between the playground and adjacent woodland was identified as the border between familiar school territory and the magical, mysterious world beyond, with the new Woodland Classrooms acting as a gatehouse. ‘Cosy Lounge’ is used for workshops and engaging with the woodland, as well as being a calm private sensory space when required. ‘Sociable Kitchen’ includes a café and group dining. ‘Messy Barn’ allows outdoor learning, whatever the weather. Through encouraging and inspiring students to adopt extra responsibilities and be more autonomous the school nurtures their social, emotional and personal development. The concave ceiling creates an intimate scale which opens up to clerestory windows as you move towards the centre of the room. The stack effect created by this allows the spaces to be entirely naturally ventilated.