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Wednesday30 July 2014

Gort Scott’s playful space solution opens up cramped school grounds

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Gort Scott has completed work on a series of shelters and outdoor furniture installations for Harlington Community School in the London Borough of Hillingdon.

The school first met the young practice last year at a design charette organised by Surface to Air Architects and Design for Education at the RIBA and featuring 15 teams of architects and 13 schools.

Gort Scott was partnered with Harlington to explore creative solutions to the school’s space problem.

“It was surprising to see such a lack of basic amenity, with the playground effectively being a car park without a single seating area,” said practice co-founder Jay Gort. “The main aim of the project was to ’reclaim’ the playground.”

Gort Scott’s proposal to create new areas for student socialising while still retaining car parking at evenings and weekends at the space-constrained school impressed the headmaster and the governing body, who agreed to release £40,000 to carry on working with the practice.

The result is a new playground completed this summer that features translucent canopy shelters and benches made of recycled-plastic planks supported by galvanised-steel frames. The two shelters have been fashioned using 50mm-diameter steel columns to support a roof structure of steel angles and fibreglass.

“We wanted to make the canopies appear as light as possible, whilst being able to stand up to the likely knocks,” said Gort. “With tight resources, we made a series of inter-ventions that are colourful and inventive and of which the school can be proud.”

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