Hackney School of Food

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Application Type

Civic Trust Awards

Level of Award

Award

Region

Greater London

Local Authority Area

Hackney

Information about this scheme

The Hackney School of Food is a joint venture between the charity Chefs in Schools and Mandeville Primary School (part of the LEAP federation of schools). The site encompasses the former caretaker’s house, surrounding garden and an underused part of the school grounds.

Working within a tight budget, the scheme is designed to be robust, unfussy and joyful with the heart of the project being the educational kitchen in the converted caretaker’s house. The entire first floor level was removed to create a bright and voluminous double height open plan space. From this point onwards, to get the very most out of the limited budget, architectural interventions were carefully targeted to the elements that add the most value to the educational experience. Above certain level, wall finishes are left largely as stripped, and the sprayed-on roof insulation is also left exposed. The operational area of the teaching kitchen is designed to be functional and fun-to- use and can accommodate an entire class of 30 students. On an urban level, the project completely transforms the streetscape. A mural by renowned illustrator Jean Jullien enlivens the previously bland street elevation and

gives the project a cheerful presence on the street. Slatted timber gates are introduced between the new ornamental kitchen garden and the street, allowing a visual connection and direct access to the shared garden.

The gardens are a fundamental part of the project, allowing children to grow their food from seed, providing outdoor teaching spaces during school hours and a community hub outside of school hours. The kitchen garden features masonry planters, a dramatic pizza oven, a fire bowl and perimeter planting. The planters step up in height allowing children and adults of all ages to easily tend to them. The pizza oven and fire bowl allow children to enjoy the whole lesson and every aspect of food production outdoors: they harvest produce they’ve grown, prepare a recipe and then cook it in a fun and interactive way. The wilder gardens beyond support the teaching kitchen by allowing produce to be grown throughout the year, and include an orchard, beehives, vegetable patches and natural play spaces. The scheme greatly benefits the community and when fully operational, each year the School of Food will teach 4,000 Hackney children how to grow and cook healthy food.

Credits

Architect

Surman Weston

Client

LEAP Federation

Client

Chefs in Schools

Structural Engineer

Structure Workshop

Main Contractor

Modern Arc

Landscape Architect

Lidia D'Agostino

Landscape Architect

Miria Harris

Services Engineer

Peter Deer and Associates

Graphic Design

Jean Jullien Studio

Primary Use Class

Class D1c - Education