St. John’s Music Pavilion

St. John’s Music Pavilion

The new music pavilion at St. John’s, a small state primary school in the Buckinghamshire village of Lacey Green, is an elegant and award-winning timber structure which was built as a co-operative venture with the school, local people and local workshops.

The new music pavilion at St. John’s, a small state primary school in the Buckinghamshire village of Lacey Green, is an elegant and award-winning timber structure which was built as a co-operative venture with the school, local people and local workshops. It was designed by the architect Clementine Blakemore for her final design project at the Royal College of Art, as a model of how to achieve a small-scale educational building through local collaboration in the absence of conventional educational funding. As well as involving the community, the building was designed as an example of low energy consumption, natural light and renewable materials; timber was the clear choice for structure and cladding. Local residents raised funds for the building, the structural timber was donated and fabricated at a local workshop and much of the construction was carried out by students and local volunteers, supervised by Blakemore. The school is on the outskirts of the village and the new building is on the northern edge of its site, overlooking farmland. It has a simple yet striking silhouette created by a roof of two steep double pitches, one larger than the other. The form was inspired, explains Blakemore, by the geometry of the painter Agnes Martin while also referencing local agricultural buildings. Both roof and side walls are clad with a continuous wrap of black-stained, feather-edged timber boarding. The two front gables of the building face the existing school buildings and are clad with a rainscreen of vertical larch boards which will weather to a silvery grey. Inset within the larger gable wall is a glazed bi-folding door which extends across the width of the gable and can be fully opened to allow the children to work outdoors in fine weather. The two rear gable walls are clad with semi-translucent polycarbonate panels which transmit even, northern light into the interior.

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