Kingsgate Primary School

Imaginative refurbishment to a primary school in West Hampstead. The extension to the existing building provides a new resource block containing library, studios, group rooms and music rooms, incorporating flexible, well lit spaces for performance, assembly, sport and study.

The proposal astutely references the existing buildings and reinstates the school’s relationship with the adjacent Kilburn Grange park by using a palette of natural materials. The existing school buildings are Victorian and include the main two storey ‘board school’ building and a separate single storey building built as a nursery. This building has a distinctly dinkier feel to the main block, relating to the scale of the young children that would have been using it. The roof is broken down into several smaller elements with a distinctive ridge line to the main hall and pyramid shaped hipped roofs to the corners which create small pavilion like structures. Our new addition draws from the scale and expression of these elements to define the new hall and library. Another distinctive feature of the school is the quality and variety of natural daylighting, large windows at high and low level face different directions creating a changing pattern of lighting effects during the course of the day. Our new extension learns from this and provides a variety of openings through which to catch glimpses of the sky, the clouds and the trees beyond. Small niches and window seats create places for children to sit and read whilst looking out towards the park.

Client: Kingsgate Primary School
Completion: Easter term 2018 
Cost: TBC 
Location: Camden, London


The new roof pitch creates a high ceilinged studio and sensitively responds to the existing built form, whilst the library roof clearly marks the entrance from both the park and the playground. Continuous timber cladding creates a distinct edge to the new addition with slatted timber screens providing some privacy to the studio space.

We used physical models to develop the design and examine the relationship between the existing and the new aspects of the school.

Internal elevations showing the timber lining
North Elevation
Dynamic learning environment

Designed with children in mind, we have incorporated playful windows that draw in daylight from every aspect. Low level windows with integrated window seats provide internal and external places to sit and read. Whilst high level roof lights capture views of the sky and assist with natural ventilation.

Low level windows with integrated seats can be found in the library
High level windows with views to the sky can be found in the studio