Located on the edge of Epping Forest, Forest School is an independent school in Walthamstow, London. Founded in 1834, it was originally designed for an intake of just 22 pupils. Since then, the campus has grown to a collection of some 16 buildings for 1,200 girls and boys from 4-18 years. Sited in a conservation area, four of the existing buildings are Grade II listed.
The 6,500 sq ft Martin Building is at the eastern end of the Forest School campus and includes digital teaching and learning facilities as well as other flexible education spaces. It is located between two existing buildings – the cricket pavilion and the girls’ school – and its massing is derived from this position, stepping down from the pitched roof of the former to the brick parapet of the latter. Reflecting the predominant material on the campus, the building is constructed of brick at first and second floor levels. Small windows on the south elevation reduce solar gain while large areas of glazing to the north give views over the playing fields. On the ground floor, a greater degree of transparency is provided by a fully glazed elevation to the north and back-painted glass to the east and west.
BuckleyGrayYeoman has also completed a two-storey extension to the adjacent 1950s preparatory school, providing three classrooms designed for modern teaching standards. A new quad and other paved and grassed external spaces have addressed the shortage of outdoor space for pupils to use during playtimes.
Paul White, director at BuckleyGrayYeoman, said: “Our challenge in designing the Martin Building was to remain sensitive to Forest School’s heritage and remarkable location while creating a contemporary piece of architecture which would enhance the campus and support the school’s ethos as it flourishes over the next 100 years. Seeing our designs brought to life as the pupils use and enjoy the new facilities and spaces has been immensely rewarding.”