Rose Hill Primary School


May-July 2019


Contract docs and LOI

Value & scheme:

£63,000; Flexible teaching space/shelter


Marple, Cheshire

Defined by its dramatic curved footprint and living ‘green’ roof, Rose Hill Primary School was opened in 2012 to serve children from pre-school age to completion of Key Stage 2.

As a direct response to the school leadership team’s recognition of and engagement with modern and progressive teaching methods, this extension for the under 6’s supports a variety of different learning and play activities required to deliver the current Early Years Foundation Stage curriculum.  It is close to, but purposefully detached from the main building, empowering and nurturing children through their unrestricted learning through play. The children use the space with allocated staff present, but its location allows support staff to passively supervise small teaching groups within close proximity from their ‘Homebase’ classrooms.

The asymmetrical roof section and low eaves, diminish in height to an infant’s scale, intentionally responding to their perception and view of the world, in turn reducing exposure to the south east facing sunlight and damaging UV. The planted extended rafters ‘defend’ the low level open rear area, providing a framework for den building and spontaneous role play activities whilst the integrated climbing walls allow infants within their limitations to climb on and traverse the shelter safely. This instils an attainable sense of achievement, helping to build self-esteem. There are deliberately no walls to this extension, the unbounded space allows for freedom of movement for exploration and there is defined raised floor which creates a ‘stage like’ platform.

The architecture is intended to be fun and responsive to site and users alike. Rain chains discharge water from the zinc roof via inboard secret gutters, freezing and supporting icicles in winter, providing possibilities for impromptu science and craft lessons. Materials are functional and robust without compromising style, reflecting the existing building’s palette and vernacular through quality detailing. Bespoke book storage, custom OSB seating pods and the incorporation of purpose designed ‘hit & miss’ OSB partitions separate the served age groups, whilst still providing a curious a glimpse into the other’s space. Partitions also provide a framework for project displays providing opportunities to build on the children’s sense of ownership of this space.  Deep pile artificial grass edges and finishes the structure, providing a contrasting low maintenance surface and safe transition between the non-slip floor deck and other exciting activities beyond.

This project was highly anticipated by staff and parents, creating a flexible new multi-functional external space which has intended room for growth. Wild meadow areas, woodland activities and Forest School supported spaces are all within the schools prospective short term plans, but it’s measure of success for now is that the children are excited by it and want to be and learning in it.