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Designing in a Recession

Modern Primary School Design

Pre Fabircated School

Primary School Design

Contemporary School Design London

Boundary Space were recently featured in an article in Architects Choice, in which we discussed our feelings about working in the challenging current financial climate. One of our points was that we felt that a recession can, in some ways, be a driver of creativity, as it forces designers to work in new and different ways, as well as re assess the methods and materials that are used. One of the best examples of this is the school extension and community space which we created for Goldington Family Centre in Bedfordshire.  From the outset we knew that the budget was going to be minimal. This inevitably led to us using a reduced palette of materials and also restricted our ability to break the form into anything unusual. Strategically our first decision was that we would use a prefabricated system and then work hard to push it to the limits of its capability. This decision meant that not only did we have early cost information we could be sure of, but that we could shift resource away from detailed design and spend it on enhancing the concept design, ensuring that the building would fit the brief as well as lift the area.

With the small design fee now being concentrated on adding value to the building, we set out with a clear intention of providing a very usable and enjoyable space. We spent considerable time locating windows to give maximum light as well as privacy. Private consultation rooms have high windows, which wash light across the ceilings whilst being unable to be viewed through from the outside. On the garden side windows were lowered to toddler height to allow them to be constantly aware of the environment outside. On the outside we wanted to deliver a bold building, which gave a strong message to the area that there was investment in the community and that thought and love had been committed to it. With such a limited budget we were forced to use plain cedar. but we elevated it by forming patterns which tied in the windows to the box design.

To summarise; creating a community building for a dynamic client such as Goldington Family Centre was a real pleasure. We believe that clever use of procurement allowed the design fee to be spent on a strong conceptual response to the brief, rather than reconfiguring standard details, showing that a high quality of building can be achieved on even the smallest of budgets.

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