Preliminary design for Rowlett Street Infants School, Poplar, London: perspective view of a play space, 1964
Designer: Ernö Goldfinger
© RIBA Library Drawings and Archives Collections
In this drawing of the project, delicacy has been abandoned and the wall is dominant. Goldfinger experimented with window shapes, creating alternative senses of light and enclosure for the school's proposed play space. Colour is introduced sparingly at the lowest levels, nearest the infants.
Each of the six post-Victorian school projects featured in this online workshop inspired architects and school administrators across Britain. As time wore on, many of the groundbreaking features introduced in these schools (finger planning, internal courtyards and coloured interiors) became commonplace in educational design, while some proved to be unsustainable (open campus plans and extensive glazing).
In 20th century Britain, successful school architects reacted to their predecessors and the limits of a particular generation. The projects featured in this workshop showcase architects seeking to make neighbourhoods more successful and students more engaged. With more than a century of school design to learn from, architects today continue the legacy of experimentation and originality for students.