Lipton Plant Architects have extended and refurbished The Bath House Children’s Community Centre, in Dalston, North London. A multi-purpose building functioning daily as a nursery for children aged 1-5 and as an after-school club and holiday care. The works were successfully and considerately completed on a tight budget in 11 weeks during which the building remained in constant use. Central to the scheme’s story is an intricate tree-like form growing upwards from the now expansive open-plan multi-purpose ground floor, enveloping the stair with its mezzanines and dens until it reaches the top floor an area for quiet play, reading and sleeping nestling in the tree top. The tree represents and encourages protection, adventure, creativity and growth; physically and emotionally, and was inspired by the tree-house in ‘Robinson Crusoe’ written by the local born author Daniel Defoe. The impact of the space has already proved immeasurable on its users; children, staff and parents. The Bath House Children’s Community Centre was awarded outstanding status by Ofsted and then went on to win RIBA Awards Education Category. (see video)
The client has engaged with LPA again to further develop the works and the story to encompass the whole community centre in stages, growing in reverse; from tree, to sapling to seed!