This group of small specialised school projects in Camden, London demonstrate the possibilities for significant and
enriching architectural work in high quality school buildings in a time of extreme austerity in current school building in
the United Kingdom. Centred on the Eleanor Palmer state Primary School’s new science laboratory building (the first of its kind in the country), Anthony Boulanger and AY Architects demonstrate the possibilities for significant architectural improvement of school facilities and pupil and staff experience despite very low budgets, no significant or obvious sites, and in response to changing and emerging needs and requirements for school provision. Individually and collectively these interventions have generated a group of high-quality and innovative buildings and improvements out of very little financing. The four projects provide valuable teaching/learning, communal dining and office space, are strongly connected to their sites, briefs, landscapes and urban fabric, and are in marked contrast with projects from the age of major school building programmes. The solutions are innovative, well-crafted and environmentally-minded, realised with very tight budgets and working with challenging constraints on difficult sites. Taken as a whole, the projects critique standardised approaches to educational buildings and far exceed expectations of minimum requirements set by the government’s programme of ‘baseline designs and strategies for schools’. Though modest in scale, they mark a new phase in the history of school building in the UK, contrasting restrictive sector-wide responses and typologies with specialised solutions that do more with less; prioritise spatial quality and environmental design principles; use timber construction for the stand-alone buildings, marking a shift in the educational construction sector in the UK. They also offer new typologies of provision such as the country’s first science building for primary school children.