Established in 2014 on a formerly neglected plot south of Westminster Bridge, Waterloo City Farm is London’s most central urban farm and an important amenity for the local community. The third phase of the project’s masterplan includes this elegant timber-framed education barn by architecture firm Feilden Fowles.
This spacious new barn addition features intimately-scaled interior classrooms alongside active outdoor areas that host activities such as gardening, carpentry, cooking, animal care and lambing, as well as a quieter, contemplative walled garden.
The form and materiality of the structures have been informed by typical agricultural buildings and feature a prefabricated timber frame system that can be easily disassembled and reconfigured in the future. Mechanical fixings can be removed without damage, allowing for further life.
The articulated truss structure of the barn results in a lofty space. Steps in the roof allow for natural ventilation, which is amplified by natural light that floods in from polycarbonate roof lights and a picture window that overlooks the street. In response to changing program needs, an insulated classroom for 30 children has been inserted in the northwest corner of the barn, a testament to the flexible nature of the structure and its adaptability to future uses.
Next to the barn is Feilden Fowles’ studio which is also constructed from a solid Douglas fir timber frame, and clad with carefully detailed, corrugated Onduline bitumen sheets. Its pitched roof is angled south, allowing north-facing clerestory windows and hidden vents for passive ventilation.
The studio’s positioning against the site’s northern boundary defines the generous shared courtyard garden, designed and planted by local practice Dan Pearson Studio. With a rugged and naturalist feel, the garden provides workshop space for the practice, break-out space for meetings and communal lunches, as well as doubling up as a quiet learning space for students visiting the farm. The latest addition to the garden is an annexe building, an overspill space for Feilden Fowles to pin-up and review work.