Education In A Modern World

Impington Village College, 1930s: Plan

Impington Village College: ground plan of the school buildings and grounds

Impington Village College: Detail of ground plan of the buildings and grounds, 1936
Designer: Edwin Maxwell Fry and Walter Gropius
© RIBA Library Drawings and Archives Collections


The founder of the Bauhaus School, Walter Gropius, helped to bring Modernism and machine-inspired design to British school building. Fleeing Nazi oppression in 1934, he set up partnership with British Modernist Maxwell Fry in London. Though Gropius left England in 1937 for the Harvard Graduate School of Design, his architecture and writing aided the acceptance of Modernism in Britain. His radical design for Impington Village College, Cambridgeshire, laid out a typology for suburban secondary schools replicated by architects around the country.

This is the ground floor plan of the Impington Village College, a low-density complex arranged across a gardened landscape. Built on one level, Impington's sprawl is far removed from the taut Victorian school. A detached row of glazed classrooms was kept away from the noise of the workshops and gymnasium. Partitions and an open floor plan ensure maximum flexibility of communal spaces, while generous promenades and pathways connect the various parts of the complex.


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