St Jerome Primary School



Rock Townsend was appointed by the London Diocesan Board for Schools to re-configure a former Wickes office building into an uplifting learning environment to house St Jerome Church of England Primary School, a new free school accommodating an Early Years Centre and 420 pupils aged 4-11.

The existing 3-storey building presented an uncompromising environment with small cellular rooms, poor levels of daylight and visibility and limited outside space. The place needed a drastic reimagination to reflect the aspirations and ethos of the school whilst still providing value for money in comparison to building a new school.

Our proposals stripped away the internal finishes, M&E systems and lightweight partitions, avoiding costly structural alterations whilst enabling us to create a new layout that met the school’s requirements.

A new arrangement of classrooms, practical spaces, toilet suites, a flexible assembly hall and dedicated dining room was established, using a simple palette of finishes and colours to create a clean and spacious feeling. Accents of colour and internal glazing were used to aid wayfinding and create visual links between spaces, whilst a new reception area and external landscaping improved the entrance sequence.

The existing car park was transformed into a formal Multi-Use Games Area (MUGA) and informal hard and soft play space, with new glazed folding partitions installed to the rear classrooms to provide direct access between inside and out.

Appointed in May 2015, the first phase of works including design, change of use application, tender and construction, was completed by September 2016 ready for the first intake of students. The project demonstrates a creative yet cost-effective approach to transforming restrictive and under-used office buildings into modern, fit-for-purpose learning environments.

Client: London Diocesan Board for Schools

Location: Harrow

Size: 3,477 sqm

Value: £3m

Completion: September 2016

Contractor: Emerson Willis

Photography: Matt Clayton