Text description provided by the architects. This re-modelling of a greenfield agricultural site creates nursery provision for 70 children aged 6 months to 5 years in stunning Northumberland farmland. Given its sensitive context it was necessary for the building to merge into the landscape and reflect the rural aesthetic of the surrounding agricultural vernacular.
The building is arranged to frame the scenery while providing generous internal spaces and exterior play areas for. The scale and form aim to break up the mass to reduce the impact on the green belt and capitalise on solar gain and natural ventilation.
The crisp volumes are clad in carefully detailed natural materials that complement the rural setting while remaining contemporary. Ecological performance is enhanced by sustainable technologies including solar hot-water heaters, rainwater capture and ground source heating. The building and site layout is befitting of its context and reduces impact on the openness of the green belt.
The notion of house & home led the design to develop the formal concept around a series of nursery ‘houses’, each forming a space for the individual age groups. The new build part of the development is thus conceived as a cluster of three houses with children progressing gradually through the spaces as they grow up.
The existing topography and new planting helps screen the major new build elements from view and the overall layout allows the nursery spaces to continue to have a connection to a protected shared south facing garden.