Building Study: Clapham School, London, by Cottrell and Vermeulen

Clapham School London phase-2-exterior-4

Cottrell and Vermeulen’s school extension takes inspiration from its unusual art deco setting

Such is the all-encompassing hold of the Victorian Board School on British social consciousness that one rarely associates the art deco style with the educational sector. In the UK, what comparatively little art deco we produced was commonly reserved for power stations, factories, cinemas and hotels.

It is a cultural circumstance that makes the handful of British art deco school buildings of unique historic value. And it also provides a rich precedent for any architect lucky enough to win a commission to extend such a school. 

This was the opportunity presented to Cottrell and Vermeulen when the practice won the competition to extend Clapham and Streatham High School in Streatham, south London in 2014. The project was split into two phases, first a new, single-storey rooftop extension for the sixth form and secondly a new ground-floor entrance and dining hall, the latter being completed this autumn.

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