Fennies Wimbledon

  • Project Type: Education
  • Client: Fennies Day Nurseries
  • Status: Completed
  • Location: London

This day nursery for 80 children was creatively retrofitted into an existing commercial building requiring a complete refurbishment internally and externally and a large rear extension.

The existing building, which over its lifetime has been used as a car workshop, photography studio and art college, was radically transformed to provide a high quality nursery over two levels and two residential units on the third level served by a dedicated, private entrance. Central to the Fennies ethos, large, bright nursery spaces are connected physically and visually to the garden.

Developing a brand with Fennies

Working in close collaboration with Fennies for a series of projects across the South East, we have developed a palette of high-quality finishes and materials to reflect the Fennies brand.

The brand, which features warm timber finishes and brightly coloured contemporary glazing, is recognisable to prospective parents across the different nursery locations and gives a sense of familiarity.

We have also designed elements of the building to accommodate children of varying ages, such as the timber balustrade with handrails at two levels and low level windows on the terrace.

Creating connections

The existing main building was tight against the boundary on both sides and had no external garden space to the rear. By demolishing a collection of dilapidated sheds and workshops to the rear, we were able to create a new garden  play area, sheltered by the boundary walls.

Generous glazing at ground level provides direct access to the garden and a new terrace at first floor level offers a safe, enclosed external space for the nursery’s youngest children.

Windows on the terrace offer views into the ground floor nursery rooms to visually connect different age groups; this gives a sense of familiarity for children as they move into new parts of the building and use different spaces each year.

Adding value on a constrained site

The existing main building had small windows and narrow, dark rooms. By completely reconfiguring the internal layout and replacing the small windows with large areas of glazing, we created a series of large, bright nursery spaces.

The facades have been completely transformed with contemporary white bricks in a vertical stack bond pattern and grey pressed aluminium cladding.

We were able to maximise the potential of the site by adding two privately accessed residential units above the nursery; recessed balconies with large sliding doors provide private covered amenity space for each unit.

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