Classroom wings to support school expansion

The Requirement

The George Spicer Primary School project was part of the delivery of a wider programme to expand primary school places in the Borough of Enfield.

The design brief was to provide new, purpose-designed learning spaces to support the school’s expansion from two to four form entry within the constraints of the existing buildings.

The Solution

A new facility comprising two teaching wings was built by the Portakabin Group using a Portakabin Design and Build off-site solution for Enfield Borough Council working in partnership with Cornerstone Property Assets and delivered via Scape framework contractor, Wilmott Dixon. The architects were Surface to Air.

The single-storey scheme and its outside landscaped learning spaces and play areas have provided a stimulating education environment for Early Years children – reception classes and years one and two. 

The classroom wings have a central timber-framed connecting hall to separate the school years whilst allowing easy orientation around the building. Generous external canopies provide shelter and encourage outdoor learning.

“The Portakabin Design and Build approach allowed us limitless possibilities whether for open plan learning spaces or cellular classrooms. This solution is inherently flexible and very adaptable, and can easily achieve the wide spans that are ideal for education layouts.”

Holly Porter, Director, Surface to Air Architects

A Colour Palette of Natural Hues for the Building Envelope

The colour palettes used for the façades are in keeping with the surrounding residential area. The external cladding is a cherry wood veneer and its natural golden hues blend in well with the leafy site.  Accents of blue and brown were used for the window and door reveals to add colour to the primary school and a subtle variation in the façade was created by alternating the grain of the timber cladding.

The teaching wings were manufactured off site using a Portakabin Design and Build solution and comprise 47 steel-framed modules which were craned into position, reducing work on site and any disruption to teaching for the adjacent school.  The building accommodates 12 new general classrooms and part of it was built using specialist, non-standard foundations to protect nearby trees.

The scheme also has the flexibility to be extended should the school’s capacity requirements change in the future.




Photography © Morley von Sternberg

Building Location


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