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Eleanor Palmer Science Lab

Shortlist 2019

Eleanor Palmer Science Lab

Location: London
Architect: AY Architects
Structural engineer: Price & Myers
Main contractor & joinery: IMS Building Solutions Ltd
Environmental / M+E consultant: Ritchie + Daffin
Wood supplier: TJ Brewer Timber Merchants
Wood species: European spruce, Finnish birch ply, Siberian larch

Eleanor Palmer Science Lab is a wooden ‘wonder room’, a cabinet of curiosities and a place for discovery and experimentation. The building can accommodate up to 31 pupils and responds to complex site and boundary conditions; a noisy road and a disjointed playground. The primary and secondary structure, internal linings, built-in furniture and external cladding are all timber. Two triangular volumes float above the learning space, offering generous daylight, ventilation and additional height for science experiments. The exterior is protected by a hard-wearing Siberian larch rain screen. The horizontal cladding is closely spaced at low level to endure playground impact and prevent small fingers from getting trapped, the spacing increases at high level and facilitates natural ventilation via concealed shutters positioned away from traffic.