Farrer Huxley
Existing site at Golden Lane.

Golden Lane Campus

Barbican, London

An exhilarating play space on a highly constrained rooftop site provides children of all abilities opportunities for discovery and challenge.
 
Podium playscape at Golden Lane Campus.
 
Type Education & Play
Location Barbican, London Borough of Islington
Scale 0.66 ha (6,600 sqm)
Playground for central London school including podium play area
Client London Borough of Islington
Partners Nicholas Hare Architects
Status Completed 2008
RIBA Stages 1-7
Awards BCSE Inspiring Design Award 2009
 

 
Existing site at Golden Lane.

Existing site at Golden Lane.

Ambition

To Create an Inclusive Playscape

The vision was to create a playable landscape for pupils of differing abilities from three schools, including the Richard Cloudesley School for children and young people with physical disabilities and additional sensory needs.

   Impact     An Outdoor Learning Environment   The space successfully integrates creativity and social development for children of all ages and abilities.   Maximising Play Space in a Dense Urban Area   Every component of the building has been utilised to its maximum potential, with roofs, ventilation shafts and walls each contributing to a multitude of play possibilities. The landscape and rooftop is a complete playscape that creates a safe haven for children above the hubbub of the street.

Impact

An Outdoor Learning Environment

The space successfully integrates creativity and social development for children of all ages and abilities.

Maximising Play Space in a Dense Urban Area

Every component of the building has been utilised to its maximum potential, with roofs, ventilation shafts and walls each contributing to a multitude of play possibilities. The landscape and rooftop is a complete playscape that creates a safe haven for children above the hubbub of the street.

   Approach     Non-Prescriptive Play   A series of flexible spaces encourage imaginative play, rather than prescribing activity by equipment or design. Bubbles of colour on the ground surface can be used as zones for tag, jumping or balancing. Moveable elements can be dragged around so that children can make up their own games. Walls, totems and structures for climbing create a more physically challenging environment than stretches of flat tarmac or grass. Sensory stimulation and opportunities for interacting with nature are integrated throughout.   For All Needs and Abilities   The scheme is   empathic to the needs of all children, acknowledging their many differences. The team worked with wheelchair users to create landscapes that would tilt and jolt their chairs, making them laugh and react. The use of undulating rubber surfacing provides insulation that preserves body temperatures, allowing children more time out of their wheelchairs.   Technical Collaboration for Innovation   The distinctive play offer across the roofscape and courtyards was made possible by collaboration and understanding across the design team. Working together we created a genuinely flat outdoor surface at first floor level. Children feel they are playing in a landscape on the ground, forgetting they are actually on a roof.   Integration into the Wider Public Realm   Pedestrians access the school directly from Fortune Park. Children can now play before and after school with a seamless transition between the school and park.

Approach

Non-Prescriptive Play

A series of flexible spaces encourage imaginative play, rather than prescribing activity by equipment or design. Bubbles of colour on the ground surface can be used as zones for tag, jumping or balancing. Moveable elements can be dragged around so that children can make up their own games. Walls, totems and structures for climbing create a more physically challenging environment than stretches of flat tarmac or grass. Sensory stimulation and opportunities for interacting with nature are integrated throughout.

For All Needs and Abilities

The scheme is empathic to the needs of all children, acknowledging their many differences. The team worked with wheelchair users to create landscapes that would tilt and jolt their chairs, making them laugh and react. The use of undulating rubber surfacing provides insulation that preserves body temperatures, allowing children more time out of their wheelchairs.

Technical Collaboration for Innovation

The distinctive play offer across the roofscape and courtyards was made possible by collaboration and understanding across the design team. Working together we created a genuinely flat outdoor surface at first floor level. Children feel they are playing in a landscape on the ground, forgetting they are actually on a roof.

Integration into the Wider Public Realm

Pedestrians access the school directly from Fortune Park. Children can now play before and after school with a seamless transition between the school and park.