Longford Community School London, Library Building, Architecture, Photos, Architect

Longford Community School Library

Feltham Education Building, London design by Jonathan Clark Architects, England, UK

21 May 2010

Longford Community School

New Library Longford Community School

Design: Jonathan Clark Architects

Address: Tachbrook Rd, Feltham, Middlesex TW14 9PE

Phone: 020 8890 0245

This school appears to have since been renamed Rivers Academy West London, which became part of the Aspirations Academies Trust in August 2013.

Longford Community School New library building

Clients brief

The brief called for a two-storey extension and partial conversion of an existing two-storey 1960s constructed teaching block at Longford Community School to accommodate two new classrooms and a Fitness Centre at ground floor level with a new Library/learning Centre (with an auditorium for 50 people) at first floor.

It was also the wish of the client that the main materials selected for the extension should be procured in an environmentally responsible way, hence the use of sustainable timber for the structure. The brief also called for all new furniture and fittings to be custom designed and built to suit the schoolʼs teaching methods.

Longford Community School Library Longford Community School Library Longford Community School Library Longford Community School Library
photos © Peter Cook

Planning constraints

The building is within the school grounds and not visible from any surrounding roads. As a result, the local planning authority had no issues with the planning application. In terms of the local context within the school, there was little to relate to – as most of the surrounding buildings are due for demolition within a few years. The challenge here was how to successfully extend a very dull and lifeless 50 metre long brick-built teaching block.

We chose to build a vibrantly colourful timber structure that straddles the end of the block almost as a kind of articulated three dimensionally layered ʻbook-endʼ. The aim was to design something visually and aesthetically interesting that the pupils and school staff alike can enjoy and feel inspired by. We were able to extend out by 5 metres which added 200 sq.m. The area of existing block that we converted was 550sq.m – total area therefore 750sq.m.

Materials and method of construction

The structure for the new extension is formed entirely from Finnforest ʻKertoʼ laminated veneered lumber panels which are created by overlapping and laminating 3mm thick veneers of spruce to give a strong, durable material. An undisturbed grain is seen face on, whilst the build up of laminations are viewed on the front, back and side faces.

Kerto elements were cut, treated and stained to colours we specified by Finnforest in Germany. After delivery to site, elements were simply slotted together on the ground to be lifted into place. Steel shoe plates connect to the column base via vertical fin plates fitted into hidden saw cuts. As a result the columns appear to be simply sitting on a single flat plate.

To the rear of the extension timber beams are fixed to a steel frame, provided to retain lateral stability in the existing building. Unusually for this material, the structure is completely external and exposed to the elements and after much research was pressure impregnated in order that it could perform to these conditions and give a suitable lifespan for the new building. We believe that this is the first time that this has been done in the UK.

In between each fin are aluminium grating panels that provide more solar control as well as some structural stiffening to the external structure. Behind the structure is a two storey panel of glazed curtain walling. The roof is a silver ʻTrespaʼ panel clad timber structure and is designed to give the impression of floating/sliding across the exposed timber roof beams.

Longford School Library
image from architects

Summary of timetable

The project was on site for approximately 7 months. Assembly and erection of the Kerto structural elements took four days, fitting neatly into a half term school holiday.

Budget constraints

The funding was raised independently by the school and was very tight. The overall cost was £1,115,000 + VAT which worked out at less than £1,500/m2. This figure includes all the custom built furniture including the carpet clad seating cubes. The contract was let under a traditional JCT Standard contract with contractorʼs design for M&E services.

Longford Community School Library images / information from Jonathan Clark Architects

Rivers Academy
Tachbrook Road,
TW14 9PE

Tel: 020 8890 0245
Fax: 020 8844 2441

Location: Tachbrook Road, Feltham, Middlesex, TW14 9PE

London, England, UK

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Rivers Academy West London – school website

Longford Community School London – architects’ page on the library building

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Comments / photos for the Longford Community School Library page welcome