Material; Irish oak, galvanised steel

Photographer _ Ste Murray 

The proposed layout of a quadrangle by the school’s architect created an open and spacious centre-piece. The intention was to reinforce this space by developing the fourth side as it was the only side with no buildings. A line of timber benches were set against the concrete planters to create a thickening of social space, one which would belong primarily to the students.

A spatial relationship is created between the wooden structures and the school building with its pitched roofs, while a pattern of enclosing sculptural elements become less intense towards the street, as students move out towards the wider world.

Since humans began to form social communities they have built structures to enable the activities of daily life. The new structures, like a fallen tree, offer a gathering point for the communal interactions of Newpark Comprehensive. Extending up into the sky, the Irish oak columns are firmly anchored to the ground, bolstered by a wide stance. The compositional elements of the structures are expressed while an awareness of how they were built is also preserved, imbuing it with a sense of honesty and material presence I believe is increasingly rare in today’s world. The solid oak benches retain the feeling of having once been part of a tree but are refined to reveal the presence of human hand; symbolising how ideas now carved and cast began with thoughts of a primordial forest settlement. 

Using Format