Multidisciplinary studio Aberrant Architecture has redesigned the interiors of a school in London’s Hackney to create a contemporary environment that will inspire pupils and facilitate teaching.
The Rosemary Works school’s directors commissioned the practice to reimagine the school’s ground- and first-floor spaces as it embarks on a programme of expansion. The ten-month project, which was completed last month, began with a careful study of the building’s early 20th-century design heritage. The team at Aberrant used the late-Edwardian technique of architectural ‘borrowing’, reinterpreting historical features to suit modern-day needs. For example, they translated the concept of the ‘reveal’ – a centrepiece popular in Edwardian rooms – into a series of nooks such as window seats that provide space for displaying pupils’ work and holding private meetings.
The school’s walls were originally divided into sections using dado and picture rails; this tradition is mirrored in the new design, which sees the walls separated into horizontal sections that fulfil different purposes. The lower ones are used primarily for storage, seating and display areas for the children; the higher ones incorporate teaching equipment; and the uppermost parts are a blank canvas that will, over time, be transformed into a vast frieze artwork.
The practice also took inspiration from the school’s unique location on Regent’s Canal, creating a fleet of mobile ‘canal barges’ that are dotted around the building. Made from plywood, these unusual structures serve as play areas for the children and feature chalkboard interiors that the teachers can decorate with information related to each week’s educational theme.
Scroll through the gallery to see inside the corridors and classrooms of the newly updated school.
Words: Frances Hedges