Urban and Contemporary Architects recently shared with us a most interesting design project for Deenal school in Yaba, Lagos. The project involved the renovation and conversion of a derelict residential building into a functional space for learning. Of the many introduced design features and architectural elements, the most prominent would have to be the colourful lattice facade that greets passers by and prospective parents as they approach the school building.
UCA was commissioned to undertake the design for the conversion of a residential building to a child care centre that will cater for children between the ages of 0-6years. Ultimately, the clients wanted us to create a learning environment that the kids will always be eager to come to. The site is along Queen Street in Yaba, and measures at approximately 400sqm with three (3) existing structures on the plot – gate house, main building and a stewards’ quarters. The gate house and stewards’ quarters are on a single floor while the main building is on two floors.
Building before renovation/conversion
The starting point of this conversion scheme was to open-up the internal spaces and connect the main building to the stewards’ quarters on the ground floor: with this, a flexible spatial programme that suits a pre-school can be achieved. The ground floor accommodates the reception, store, preschool classes, crèche, kitchen, staff room, nurse station, proprietress’ office and conveniences. The crèche is zoned to the rear of the building where noise and foot traffic are minimal – this affords the babies a conducive environment to sleep. Connected via light-filled stair hall, the upper floor accommodates the nursery classes, staff room and conveniences.
Drawings courtesy Urban and Contemporary Architects.
To infer that learning is beyond the walls of a classroom, classes on the ground floor extend onto the playground to stimulate curiosity and encourage the kids to “explore the world”. The spaces are naturally ventilated and filled with natural light; with glowing skylight also introduced on the corridor.
Access into the school is through a screening room to ensure utmost security and safety of the pupils. On entry, pupils, staff and guests are greeted by a finely landscaped multi-use entrance plaza. An extensive steel-screen canopy hangs over the plaza making it a good social space for interactions, waiting, chit-chatting, playing and so on.
Final Build / Approach Facade
The facades are adorned with large glazed areas and colourful patterned steel lattice to give dynamism to the building. The constantly shifting shadows created by the intricate patterned lattice provide “point of attraction” that continually intrigues and fascinates the kids, parents, staff and passers-by. It is hoped that this simple piece of architecture will offer the school the much needed attention; and impart its host community in a good way.
Project name: Deenal School
Architecture Firm: Urban and Contemporary Architects (UCA)
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