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Chelsea Open Air Nursery is a landmark nursery school housed in historic cluster of buildings just off London’s Kings Road that was in need of modernisation. 

Consultation with staff, users and the local authority, Friend and Company proposed a phased scheme, bringing light and space to the interior giving architectural expression to the nursery’s philosophy of play in the open air.

Phase 1 SureStart funded a new ‘green classroom’ conversion of an existing garden undercroft. Built from an elegant steel box, the classroom appears as a separate element to the existing brick building.

Phase 2 Primary Capital Programme funded addition of a new tree house classroom structure that continuing the ethos of the school by bringing the garden into the classroom. A lattice of CNC cut beams, leaf-patterned infill panels and glass balustraded openings create shimmering ‘glade’ like effects as the sun shines through the studio roof lights above.

Close collaboration with the Head Teacher Kathryn Solly who said: “Adrian and his team understand children and schools. They recognise the need for the environment to be a ‘teacher’ and hence create living  spaces which are creative and yet environmentally friendly too. They are cheerful, positive people who go the extra mile in order to make a real difference. I thoroughly recommend them.”


Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea






Ioana Marinescu

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