This new building added to a school in the English town of Beaconsfield by London architecture office DSDHA flanks a tree-lined playground and is clad in waney-edged timber to give it a natural appearance.

The school originally occupied an old farmhouse and had spread to include a collection of historic and modern buildings, positioned around formal gardens and a wooded area where children can play outside.

The new project initiated in 2012 involved removing some outdated buildings to make way for a new library, a hall and ten classrooms that seek to fufil the school’s objective of promoting engagement with the natural world.

Basing the design on the agricultural heritage of the original building, DSDHA created a series of connected structures that utilise traditional materials to blend in with their natural setting and historic context.

“Our intervention – with its unusual external black waney-edged timber finish and neutral interiors – allows the sense of the architecture to recede,” the studio explained, “shifting the focus on the children’s pedagogical activities and their connection to the mature landscape outside.”

“This process of visual editing applied to the building and the landscape aims at stimulating the children to establish a stronger and intimate relationship with nature, something increasingly at risk of being lost in our contemporary urban environments.”

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