Brookes architects design children's centre for the future

Tuesday, 11 March 2008

Local nursery school and children's centre celebrates the official opening of its new building

A local nursery school and children’s centre has celebrated the official opening of its new building designed with the help of Oxford Brookes interior architects.

Grandpont Nursery School in Oxford has unveiled a new £700,000 extension scoped by Architects and Senior Lecturers, Andrea Placidi and Matt Clay, with input from Brookes’ Interior Architecture students.

The new building includes two new playrooms and staff facilities plus a large meeting area for parents and children separated by a brightly coloured red wall. The building is designed to maximise natural light and views of the Grandpont natural reserve, and is inspired by the principles of the Reggio Children Nurseries, where the children are allowed a complete control over their activities.

The work has been carried out so that Grandpont Nursery School can be a designated children’s centre and provide additional support and advice services for parents and children in the local community. This includes extra childcare, antenatal classes, early learning and drop in family sessions.

Andrea Placidi of Oxford Brookes said: “Brookes’ students were involved in the initial competition for the design of the new extension as part of a design studio brief and we were delighted when the winning project proposal was accepted and became the basis for the actual project funded by Sure Start.

“One of the challenges was to develop a space that blended the need for children’s learning and play areas with combined meeting space for adults and parents. We wanted to create a welcoming environment for everyone.”

Headteacher of Grandpont Nursery School and Children’s Centre, Elaine M Smith, said: “We are delighted with the quality of the cooperation with Oxford Brookes interior architects. Over the last two years we have worked together as a team to design and build one of the most advanced children's centres of this kind. The level of the internal arrangements and the design solutions do offer the best environment for the children’s learning experiences, and the response from the local community has been enthusiastic.”

Representative from Oxfordshire County Council, Oxford Brookes University and the construction team for Grandpont Nursery School and Children’s Centre attended the opening ceremony on Friday 29 February.