The Twentieth Century Society has put forward for spot listing Ashmount School in Islington. The building is under threat of demolition. Islington Council have proposed a replacement scheme for the building.
Ashmount School was built as a combined infant and junior school in 1954-6 to designs by the architect H.T. Cadbury-Brown who received a commission for this project by the LCC. The consulting engineers were Bolton, Henessey and Partners.
The building cleverly deals with a difficult, sloping site by positioning two blocks at right angles. The two blocks are linked by assembly, kitchen and dining rooms. The interiors are of light brick and feature exposed space frames on the upper levels.
The School is an important early example of an all-glass curtain wall construction – Cadbury-Brown used the Hill System, but rather than going with its standard components and introducing the opaque blue spandrel panels that were more commonly used, the architect chose fully glazed spandrels. Some of the glazed spandrels have in the past been exchanged for the standard blue panels, but much of the building still retains its former appearance. Of particular interest are the transparent glazed corners of the main all-glazed block, as well as the flush meeting of glazing and brickwork in the lower blocks. These details give the building an elegant appearance. The exterior appears as continuous, with the individual floors hardly visible from the outside.
The Infant school exposes its steel section beams and this was clearly an architecturally sophisticated exercise in an advanced metal-and-glass aesthetic which was a feature of the architecture of the Festival of Britain and is reminiscent of the Californian Schools programme, the Eames House and even Hunstanton School by Peter and Alison Smithson.
The School also features an interesting art work. John Willats designed a cockerel sculpture which is sited on the Hornsey Lane frontage which Cadbury-Brown paid for privately.
The Society feels that this groundbreaking and exciting building should be retained and refurbished rather than replaced.
For further information please contact: Cordula Zeidler, Caseworker, The Twentieth Century Society, tel: 020 7250 3857, cordula.zeidler(at)c20society.org.uk