Curl la Tourelle Head Builds First Socially Distanced Tent for a London Primary School

Curl la Tourelle Head Builds First Socially Distanced Tent for a London Primary School

Curl la Tourelle Head Architecture has built the first socially distanced tent, a pop-up school proposal in London. Located at Manorfield Primary School in Tower Hamlets, the project aims to maximize social distancing measures among students and teachers, during this post COVID-19 period.

Veldeman’s temporary structures at Universiteit Antwerpen, Wilrijk. Image © Jeroen Willems Veldeman’s temporary structures at Universiteit Antwerpen, Wilrijk. Image © Jeroen Willems Veldeman’s temporary structures at Universiteit Antwerpen, Wilrijk. Image © Jeroen Willems Pop-up tent concept trialled at Manorfield Primary School, London. Image © Kilian O’Sullivan + 11

After imagining the concept, London-based Curl la Tourelle Head has installed a temporary structure, a 6m x 18m tent, supplied by Original Marquees to host classrooms and a lunch area, in Manorfield Primary School. The proposal, inspired by the Danish experience of outdoor learning, “addresses the most pressing issue that many schools are now facing across the UK – which is maintaining social distancing as pupils return to their classrooms”. Aiming for at least 25% more socially distanced capacity than what the school currently offers, the architects prove the possibility to generate a safe environment under COVID-19 restrictions.

 Proposed pop-up classroom and washing facility that enable social distancing. Image © Darc Studio
Proposed pop-up classroom and washing facility that enable social distancing. Image © Darc Studio

Commenting on the initiative, Paul Jackson, a Headteacher at Manorfield Primary School stated that “Our children have been out of school for far too long. We want to bring as many children back to school in as safe a way as possible. […] We won’t bring back more children than it is safe to and need to find creative solutions to enable the wider opening of schools. The creation of additional pop-up accommodation in our playground will support us in doing this and meeting the needs of our children”.


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Seating arrangement to enable social distancing within a classroom setting . Image Courtesy of Curl la Tourelle Head
Seating arrangement to enable social distancing within a classroom setting . Image Courtesy of Curl la Tourelle Head

Our pop-up school initiative offers a robust and adaptable suite of temporary structure options, ranging from simple canvas marquees to fully operational, insulated and engineered facilities capable of servicing entire year groups through the planned ‘big summer of catch-up’ and autumn term beyond. We are confident that we have the solution to help schools increase their capacity and bring back more pupils, while still following the social distancing rules and ensuring a safe environment for the children and staff. -- Wayne Head, Director, Curl la Tourelle Head.

Seating arrangement to enable social distancing within a classroom setting . Image Courtesy of Curl la Tourelle Head
Seating arrangement to enable social distancing within a classroom setting . Image Courtesy of Curl la Tourelle Head

Focusing on utilizing outdoor space to ease the circulation load in existing school buildings, the pop-up tent is expected to stay until the end of the current school term. Reusing resources like festival marquees, the temporary classrooms, and portable facilities optimize the two-meter social distancing rules. Moreover, the intervention enables better spacing between individuals, while creating more capacity to take on further pupils. The architecture firm is currently in discussion with other schools, with the aim of rolling out the concept further and wider.

We invite you to check out ArchDaily's coverage related to COVID-19, read our tips and articles on Productivity When Working from Home and learn about technical recommendations for Healthy Design in your future projects. Also, remember to review the latest advice and information on COVID-19 from the World Health Organization (WHO) website.

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Cite: Christele Harrouk. "Curl la Tourelle Head Builds First Socially Distanced Tent for a London Primary School" 17 Jun 2020. ArchDaily. Accessed . <https://www.archdaily.com/941879/curl-la-tourelle-head-builds-first-socially-distanced-tent-for-a-london-primary-school/> ISSN 0719-8884
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