Frank Barnes Primary School

Ivor Plummer, London, 1977


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Main entrance  

Martin Charles     Download Original

  • Main entrance     
  • Facade viewed from across the playground    
  • Nursery play garden    
  • Northern elevation    
  • Southern elevation    
  • Roof tiling detail    
  • Children being taught in one of the     
  • Dining Hall    
  • Octagonal Home Base room    
  • Practical area    
  • Site plan    
  • Ground floor plan    
  • First floor plan    
  • Section A-A    
  • Section B-B    
  • Construction detail through north elevation    

School for deaf children incorporating gymnasium, assembly hall, kitchen, library, activity areas and teaching spaces

The brief required a day school for 80 profoundly deaf children. Three essential conditions had to be addressed reduction of sound penetration and reverberation, elimination of amplified sound overspilling and good lighting to facilitate lip reading.

The building plan consists of a number of octagonal rooms which define the overall form. This shape proved to be the most economical to accommodate the 'horse-shoe' grouping of desks with built-in amplification. The polygonal form also helps to diffuse sound and break up any echoes.

The external walls of the building are constructed out of white concrete blocks, and the felt of the insulated roof deckings is finished with light chippings.

Internal walls are lined with hardboard and backed with mineral wool for acoustic attenuation. Floors are carpeted or use foam backed vinyl sheet and suspended acoustic ceilings reduce the noise interference further.

The light colour palette used assists the internal air conditioning by reducing the solar heat gain of the building fabric.


  • Begun: Sep 1974
  • Completed: Dec 1977
  • Floor area: 1,576m2
  • Sector: Education
  • Total cost: £414,190
  • Tender date: Aug 1974
  • Procurement: RIBA/GLC
  • Address: Harley Road, Swiss Cottage, London, NW3 3BN, United Kingdom

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