Building design and architecture

would have forced some utility on things that formerly didn’t have that pressure on them.”


Moving to discuss the charity’s aspirations for its new home, Mark Rowe said: “In research terms the Anna Freud National Centre for Children & Families is world-renowned, and works with eminent academic institutions such as UCL and Yale, so the staff wanted the new centre to have a striking design to reflect this. The design challenge was thus about exploring and resolving the tension between the idea of domesticity and a calming interior for individuals often at traumatic moments in their life, while simultaneously creating a space where donors from abroad can turn up and be ‘wowed’, and where international symposia can be held. A similar tension crops up in almost every item associated with the scheme – even down to individual components such as door handles and taps.”

Of the design as a whole, the architect said: “At the outset there were some very idealistic ideas of the integration of the Family School and the Anna Freud Centre on shared spaces. As a degree of reality landed, however, we recognised that we had to have separate institutions that could be visually and symbolically linked, and with spaces that could be booked and shared in a more formal way. Although we noted caution, we are always happy to help institutions break the rules and change the paradigm.” Mark Rowe explained that the school will occupy the five upper floors of the

Mark Rowe, Penoyre & Prasad Partner and lead project architect, said: “We deliberated for some time over how we could make the building stand out; what were the key quirks we could incorporate, because the charity and schools are both slightly ‘different’ organisations.”

new build at the front. He said: “In addition, there will be facilities for specialist learning – for instance in science, art, and cookery etc. The school will also incorporate the Smart Gym system used by several Premier League football clubs, which combines physical exercise with features that stimulate the mind in an associated way. One of the challenges was putting the school on a site with so little space, but luckily The Family School has an agreement with Islington Council to use Grimaldi Park opposite. We have also provided what roof terracing we could, which can be used in a supervised way.”

DIFFERENTIATING THE BUILDING Mark Rowe explained that ‘as a world-class institution’, the Anna Freud National Centre for Children & Families was keen that its new building be architecturally striking and distinctive. He said: “We deliberated for some time over how we could make the building stand out; what were the key quirks we could incorporate, because the charity and schools are both slightly ‘different’ organisations. From the outset we have worked with a diagonal motif idea on the glazing to inform both the transparent elevation and the pre-cast cheeks of the building, which we could do very little with as they are both on party walls.” This thinking culminated in the incorporation of back fritting of the glass. The idea is to give users views out, but also to modulate the views in, to afford an element of privacy.” Mark Rowe added: “We are also in discussion with the school about incorporating a gradated film on the inside of the glass. As architects, we think we are experts in bringing together space, components, and materials, but there is always a slight unexpected twist when you see things from the standpoint of the building’s users. The fritted glazing will feature across the whole front and rear facades.” Users of the building will be able to see the park opposite from the first floor, while at the back the school will overlook the rest of the Anna Freud Centre. “The visual link is the part of the integration between the school and the charity that we deliberately kept,” Mark Rowe explained. “There was a big philosophical discussion over this, because a big part of the


APRIL 2018 13

©Penoyre & Prasad

Page 1  |  Page 2  |  Page 3  |  Page 4  |  Page 5  |  Page 6  |  Page 7  |  Page 8  |  Page 9  |  Page 10  |  Page 11  |  Page 12  |  Page 13  |  Page 14  |  Page 15  |  Page 16  |  Page 17  |  Page 18  |  Page 19  |  Page 20  |  Page 21  |  Page 22  |  Page 23  |  Page 24  |  Page 25  |  Page 26  |  Page 27  |  Page 28  |  Page 29  |  Page 30  |  Page 31  |  Page 32  |  Page 33  |  Page 34  |  Page 35  |  Page 36  |  Page 37  |  Page 38  |  Page 39  |  Page 40