We were commissioned by Brunswick Primary School in south London to convert a disused caretaker’s cottage into a specialist cookery classroom for the school’s new cooking programme. The formerly cellular ground floor of the cottage has been completely reconfigured to provide a generous and flexible teaching space that maximises pupil participation and interaction at all stages of the cooking process.
Preparation tables and cooking island are centrally positioned to ensure students can always see and learn from each other while cooking. The views created encourage the children to watch their dishes bake in the oven, and see their vegetables growing in the adjacent kitchen garden.
The scheme is designed around the principle of learning through experience. Individual construction components are left exposed and colour coded to help the children understand how their new space is physically put together.
Plasterboard is stripped off the ceilings to reveal the timber construction of the original Victorian soffit, while inserted steelwork is highlighted in pink, the same colour used to finish other metal elements. The profile of the new staircase is intentionally revealed within the main space to aid understanding of how the adjacent hallway connects to the first floor level.
The kitchen cupboards and tables tops are made from a robust recycled plastic which is formed from reconstituted yoghurt pots and their foil lids.
Within the surface finish of the plastic the yoghurt pots and foil flecks are clearly recognisable, allowing children to visually learn about recycling and reducing waste. The innovative plastic is one part of a highly textured and colourful material palette carefully chosen to provide a robust joyful space, conducive to learning through doing.