We’ve been using our own bespoke designed super graphics for a long time as part of the process of developing interior schemes.
At one time they might have been viewed as stand-alone features adding a brand identity to the building but increasingly (if not completely so) these super graphics are an important part of the overall wayfinding strategy. They work alongside the paint finishes helping to identify areas, create landmarks and way points as visitors circulate through a building.
Graphics and visual imagery in general is readily available through stock libraries online but if you look closely you will often observe the same stock images appearing time and time again. We believe that schemes deserve better.
At the Childrens’ Day Unit (Milton Keynes University Hospital) we designed a complete suite of playful graphics based around the theme of the farm which were installed full height on walls throughout the unit. Graphics, flooring and wall finishes were all tuned to work with eachother.
At Birkett House SEN school the headteacher said that there was a noticeable improvement in the way that pupils independently moved to their classrooms rather than being escorted. This was in no small measure due to the way in which we used the finishes and graphics to help make the building more legible to a non-literate population.
Now that the dust has settled we thought it would be useful to report on the Sellincourt Primary refurbishment project.
More on the scheme can be found here
The design intent was to develop an interior scheme that could be deployed throughout the main school building and possibly to Early Years in a phased programme of works. Part of the initial design consultancy time was used to develop an overall scheme for decorations which could be rolled out across the school as and when funds became available.
The building is a standard Victorian period school structure circa 1907 with interesting original features many of which have been preserved despite later modifications. It would be fair to say that the building has suffered in recent years from some unsympathetic building works which have cloaked, over-sailed and in some cases destroyed original features. There was thus the need for some TLC to reveal the architecture and bring the building back to an environment fit for learning.
The first phase of works was scheduled for Summer 2015 during the 6 week holiday period. The works included for most of the ground floor rooms with some exceptions and in particular a complete refurbishment of the two Year 1 classrooms.
The critical drivers for this first phase was to deliver a scheme that was on budget, on time and inspirational for staff and pupils when they returned.
It was an intensive building programme and we learnt quite a few lessons. The positives;
- We implemented weekly 2-3 hour progress meetings which were used to review and report on activities. Whilst a big time commitment these were vital to monitor and catch and mitigate issues.
- An HSE / general project file was assembled pre- commencement which was a useful reference during the scheme. This will be useful for future works.
- The appointment of Wandsworth Building Services was absolutely the right choice. The team were diligent, efficient and provided a superb service throughout the works period. A special mention must be made for our Site Agent without whom the programme targets might have been severely challenged.
- Refurbishment is a never ending journey – issues were uncovered during the works which had a negative knock on effect on the budget; some issues were parked to be addressed in the future.
- Demolitions were in general the simplest part of the works, making good afterwards required care and sometimes a light touch. For instance we scraped back loose paintwork on the radiators and repainted due to budgetary concerns; long term it might be better to refurbish the radiators properly and strip back to cast iron.
- The Year 1 classrooms were a great success. Removing the acoustic panelling, adding a suspended ceiling and new lighting have been transformative.
- The stripped parquet flooring in the East Hall show what can be achieved when we tackle the main hall. The parquet which is approximately 100 years old now looks like new. It’s a highly valuable floor finish.
- The removal of the original built in cupboards (a really difficult aesthetic decision – were we being vandals here) and re-decorations of the main hall have made a big difference.
- The building works have given us a good benchmark of which contractors/ sub contractors should be retained for future works.
- The resulting finish. Its transformed the Ground Floor spaces, rationalised circulation and made better use of rooms.
And the negatives or shall we say challenges!
- There was a lot of legacy wiring, equipment and evidence of patched up jobs which needed to be resolved before good progress could be made.
- We had to omit the Lobby partition works due to the combination of a high quotation and running out of time to seek alternatives. Next time we will need a much longer run up (say plans in place 2 months ahead of work start) to the building programme to avoid being penalised with inflated costs.
- A building works programme like this has a high impact and demand on individuals’ time. Much more than you think!
So that was the first phase completed. We’ve had a little bit of snagging, a short break and now we’re looking to raise the funds for Summer 2016 Phase 2. The journey continues …
This is the ‘before’ picture of Blue Coat library refurbishment prior to the manifestation going on to the glazing. In two weeks time things will be looking quite different… designs were generated with pupils which explored imagery that could be associated with the space. Ultimately a simple design of blocks of colour stacked like books was agreed as the best and most appropriate design. See more here
We’re working with pupils from Blue Coat school to develop ideas and an interior scheme for their library refurbishment which will be taking place this summer. The engagement programme is being funded through Creative Partnerships whilst the refurbishment is being funded through the Department of Children, Schools and Families ( DFCS).
CAN UK is working alongside to document the programme and produce a seres of media outcomes including a DVD and website.
See more here