Neil Hogan, Helen Hughes, Ashley Thompson, Adam Woodward
Cherbourg Primary School Dining Room
SHH redesigned the dining area of Cherbourg Primary School in close consultation with both The Sorrell Foundation and UK government body The School Food Trust.
Like many schools, Cherbourg’s dining area was also the school hall and served as a multi-purpose space, used variously for assemblies, sport, after-school club, storage and AV presentations. It was inevitably full of clutter, as it held equipment associated with all these functions, preventing it from serving any individual function as well as it should. The brief for the very tight budget scheme (£45k in total) was to create a way to make all those activities smoother and less invasive by creating imaginative storage solutions and reworking the dining space counter area. The brief was to allow a separate feel for each activity, with improved lighting and storage, nicer furniture, better queuing at lunchtimes and quicker service - and to allow a sense of nature, colour and pattern into the space.
Simple redecoration in white created a pure backdrop for a number of creative solutions to lighting, storage and high-impact graphic designs. Furniture was chosen that could be stored in trolleys, so that the whole hall space could be cleared, when needed, for other purposes. The trolleys also sit in the space during lunchtimes and feature coat hooks on the side for the children’s coats to hang on before going out to play.
The far side of the hall has classrooms beyond a corridor area. The windows for these have been dressed with ‘stained glass’ vinyl applications, tying in with the decoration of all existing storage containers to create a highly graphic environment, with great projected reflections when the sunlight shines through. New pinboards can be used for notices, teaching or to display the children’s work. The new graphics were developed in close consultation with the children, who wanted to use images suggesting the outdoors, trees (tying in with the school’s proximity to the New Forest), freshness and fresh food - especially fruit and vegetables.
To help keep noise down, lighting is set within 8 foam, sound-absorbing chandeliers (or ‘sound hoovers’ as the children have christened them), each measuring 1500 x 1200mm.