New school clad in innovative brick

A new London primary school features innovative Belgian bricks supplied by European Building Materials.

EBM worked closely with Cottrell & Vermeulen Architecture on the specification of bricks, not only to blend with the neighbouring terraced streets but to provide a thinner thickness than UK standard sizes, allowing extra internal space.

A charcoal grey brick from Vande Moortel, with matching mortar joints, was set against brightly coloured panels to break up external elevations at the Bellenden Primary School in Peckham Rye. The bricks face the concrete frame on the ground floor and projecting headers pick up a similar detail on nearby houses. On the first floor, the bricks comprise framed panels, alternating with translucent yellow polycarbonate panels to maintain privacy while letting in light.

The main facing brick was chosen from Vande Moortel’s slimline Nature 7 range, which has a thickness of 70mm instead of the standard 102mm, allowing extra internal space or increased insulation thickness. Grey and buff coloured bricks from the same manufacturer were also specified, with over 150,000 bricks supplied to site.

The new school occupies an island site and forms a U-shape enclosing a central playground, with brightly coloured walls and murals internally. Classrooms are arranged in pairs, separated by their own staircase leading directly to the courtyard. Two large roof terraces optimise the outdoor space, with an undercroft below the classrooms for covered external play space.

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