Perthcelyn Community Primary School

Rhondda Cynon Taff County Borough Council, Taff, 1999


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Jim Lowe (website)     Download Original

  • Playground    
  • The Cynon valley    
  • Visitors entering the school can look over the  gallery into the ‘street’  below which acts as an informal play area with a library and other shared spaces    
  • The sloping zinc roofs descend into the curved playground    
  • The steep site absorbed much of the budget  but gives  the school dramatic views    
  • The school hall can be used with a small platform as a stage or turned round to use the  opening at the back of the hall as a proscenium arch    
  • The school can just be discerned tucked into the hillside among the terraces    
  • Site plan    
  • Lower level plan    
  • Upper floor plan    
  • Section    
  • Details of zinc roof with inset gutters and downpipes     
  • Detail of zinc roof with inset gutters and downpipes     

A white curvilinear formed school, with a playground and steep parkland below and a banked-up terrace with a games pitch above

Visitors enter the school at the upper level where a generous gallery with stairs at either end overlooks the informal communal 'street' at the heart of the building. It is this double height space that links the whole school.

The infant classrooms have cosy reading corners with lower ceilings to encourage quiet play. A series of clerestory windows supplements the light from east-facing windows in each classroom. All the classrooms have their own cloakrooms with access to the playground, each with a horizontal slit window whose position varies according to the age of the class.

The classrooms look onto a playground whose organic shapes and informal divisions moderate the dramatic valley, creating a haven. It is from here that the exterior of the school is best appreciated. Each of its constituent parts is clearly distinguished by the gently rugged zinc roofs of each classroom which group themselves in a protective arc around the playground.

Steps down onto the playground add to the sense of enclosure. The walls are clad with warm western red cedar offset by a deep battered plinth wall of Brithdir sandstone from the site.


  • Begun: Sep 1997
  • Completed: 1999
  • Floor area: 1,940m2
  • Sector: Education
  • Total cost: £2.2M
  • Funding: Private
  • Tender date: Aug 1997
  • Procurement: JCT80 Local Authorities with Quantities
  • Address: Glamorgan Street, Taff, CF45 3RJ, United Kingdom


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