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First Place Nursery

A new nursery school that caters for children from 3 months to 5 year old on a site in Bushey, Hertfordshire to replace an existing premises that is no longer sustainable.
Our concept for the nursery building is that of a low, green-roofed building that sits quietly on its site. The brief called for a building that would offer,

‘Simple and natural spaces and materials to promote open ended play. Warm, nurturing and peaceful. Lots of natural light with windows to the floor for children to see out. Each nursery room opening to an outdoor area. Alcoves and quiet areas for resting and reading. Nursery rooms to have inter-connecting door to the next age group nursery room.’

Our design begins with a single-storey plan – ideal for very young children. To the front, behind a sheltered portico entrance, lies a zone for parents and staff and a small hall. Beyond this lies a full width ‘gallery’– a place for benches, shoes, hanging coats, and children’s art work – all toplit by long roof lights.

Three ‘classrooms’ occupy the back of the plan and open out with full height glazing onto protected outdoor play spaces. The rooms themselves are made playful by use of concave/convex bulges in the dividing walls that break up the orthogonal geometry. This is then complemented by circular ‘bubbles’ in coloured circular areas on the floor and by three giant roof lights above.  This is an idea inspired by a beautiful sculpture pavilion by Aldo van Eyck in Sonsbeek, Holland from 1966 that explored the spatial expression of curves upon a regular geometric plan.

Externally, The new building is low, fronted by dark stained timber cladding and timber-clad steel columns for a portico – welcoming and sheltering – creating a building that along with the green roofscape, blends into the sylvan setting.

 

Client First Place Nursery Ltd.
Status In planning
Planning consultant CDS Planning and Development Consultants Ltd
Landscape architect BD Landscape
Ecology Arbtech
M&E Consultant Entran Ltd
Arboriculturalist Arbtech
Highways consultant Reeves Transport Planning
Last project Next project