Comet Children’s Centre

Part of the second phase of new Children’s Centres in Hackney, this project transforms an existing 1970s single storey nursery with remodeling and a new extension to provide an integrated centre with community facilities. The wide range of complex functions are centred around a shared piazza, which gives focus and coherence to the whole and embraces the Reggio Emilia philosophy for child development. The external landscape offers a rich range of play areas, including spaces for exploring, habitat areas, grass, mounds, seating, hard play and safety surfaces.

The new and existing structures, which include a 50 place day nursery, a crèche with community kitchen, community room, and consultation rooms, are visually united by simple insulating render interspersed with bright canopies, which give presence to the otherwise low form. Child-height windows and doors externally plus bespoke fittings internally create a child-scale environment, which is enhanced by generous day-lighting and fresh bright colours.

"I took two parents around the site this morning. One of them cried! It really is wonderful."

Angela Mabhena, Head Teacher

  • Client:The Learning Trust
  • Location:Hackney
  • Status:Completed February 2008
  • Consultants:Artelia, Michael Barclay Partnership, Michael Jones Associates
  • Contractor:T&B Ltd
  • Photography:Sarah Blee