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18/01/2011
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Heathfield Nursery and Children's Centre

Richmond, London

Combining an under fives children's centre and a nursery attached to a primary school in a child-friendly single storey block.

Heathfield is the first of three new build children’s centres to open in the borough of Richmond.  The building is funded by SureStart and combines an under fives children’s centre and a nursery attached a primary school.  It has become an important part of the local community and provides a variety of child focused services.

Sarah Wigglesworth Architects were appointed through a competition run with the support of a CABE enabler.  Their design creates four distinct zones surrounded by a walled garden and the nursery and children’s centre each have their own entrance.

The building is clad in brightly coloured timber and has a playful shifting roofscape.  Large child friendly play areas at each end  are protected from the roads by planting and gabion walls.

The finished building opened two years after the initial competition despite changes to the brief and a budget shortfall that had to be supplemented from the local authority’s reserves.  The contractors, statutory bodies and the head of the nursery school all supported the architect’s vision and ensured the success of the project.

How CABE enabling helped

  • helped set up and run the design competition
  • sat on the interview panel to select the architect
  • gave the panel the confidence to make an informed choice
  • acted as an independent voice on the selection panel.