The old and dysfunctional Eaton Socon Pre-School, formed of two temporary porta-cabins, underwent a complete transformation as Devlin Architects designed new facilities for the children. Lunawood Thermowood was selected as the façade material for this project, which has been adopted by the entire community and has received several RIBA awards.
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Behind the pre-school design
Simon Devlin, the architect responsible the project, knows the background of the preschool very well because his child was studying in the same pre-school few years ago. Mr. Devlin has been an architect for twelve years in the UK, but the Socon Eaton Pres-School is his first educational project. The deep knowledge of the customer and end-user needs facilitated project planning.
The design of the pre-school is based on a courtyard arrangement, all three large classrooms have outside access that is level thresholds. “We designed it so there are no south-facing windows or doors to gain heat and make it sure it’s comfortable during every part of the year”, Simon says.
Natural Lunawood Thermowood façade
Choosing the right wood material for the facade was essential and Simon tested 15 different options before choosing Lunawood Thermowood. “Lunawood is stable and doesn’t warp and move as natural cladding might do over time. We also wanted its rich colour because we wanted it to contrast against the black. We needed it to be of a good life cycle as well as durable and it needed to have that natural aesthetic that we wanted in this pre-school environment”, Simon sheds light on the main selection criteria.
The black Lunawood Thermowood cladding and black rubber roof act as a background for the splashes of colour on the exterior and the fenestration to punch through and engage with the surroundings. The interior of the open courtyard is a direct contrast with a natural Thermowood background that will allow the splashes of colour and dappled light under the canopy to add an element of playfulness to this sanctuary.
The staff and children have all been using the building since the initial opening and have relished the extra space and bright airy interiors. In 2019, the preschool was awarded with multiple RIBA Awards.
Lunawood’s official partner, Millworks Ltd, made sure that the materials were delivered on time and properly installed.