Unobtrusive building extension

Our designers strive to ensure that NPS-designed buildings are appropriate to their surroundings and if necessary in keeping with traditional building construction.


For example, we were asked to produce a design for an ‘outdoor classroom’ for Broadhempston Primary School in Devon. An external covered area for teaching and play is a requirement of the Foundation Stage curriculum. At Broadhempston it would be a challenge to implement unobtrusively, given the surroundings. The school building itself was constructed in 1870 of the local limestone, and adjacent to the site is the village’s 13th Century Grade 2 listed church.


Our design was developed after extensive consultation with the school, its governors, local residents, the parish council, county planners, and English Heritage. We chose a pitched-roof canopy, on a steel frame that has no walls but is effectively enclosed on three sides by existing stone walls. The side of the roof facing the church has slate covering, while the side facing the playground is covered with transparent polycarbonate to admit more light. The steel columns are enclosed and the joints concealed to produce a more traditional appearance.


The canopy blends in very well with the existing architecture around it, and stakeholders who had originally been sceptical have expressed their admiration of the outcome.