Hall Grove School – Early Years Building

Also referred to as the ‘Great Barn’, this structure, completed in 2016 for Hall Grove School, serves as their new early years facility. The oak frame showcased here has fashioned a truly delightful classroom for children, endearing itself to all who utilize it. The foreground truss features a ‘sling braced’ design, a popular choice for open hall spaces. In the background, an ‘upper cruck’ truss configuration is visible, with cruck blades situated over the main floor bridging beam. Further instances of these trusses will be shown later.

Initial planning and concept drawings for the project were provided by Robert Blower Architects. The construction was executed by David Parnell, a longstanding collaborator of Hall Grove School, known for his professionalism and commitment. Green Oak Architects took charge to finalize detailed designs and aid in build coordination.

Oak framing employs a modular system with structural ‘bays’, creating repetition and rhythm that is both captivating and aesthetically pleasing. The utilization of upper cruck frames imbues an immediate and intimate quality to the timber structure, perfectly suited to the classroom setting. The window at the end accentuates perspective, offering views of the surrounding landscape.

A side aisle extends to form a covered walkway within the courtyard play area, providing a sheltered space for young children to play during unfavourable weather conditions.

This well-lit and airy classroom incorporates the use of ‘sling braced trusses’, which are also employed elsewhere. The curved ‘sling braces’ and ‘stub ties’ contribute to a raised tie truss design that is not only visually appealing but also structurally effective, garnering approval from engineers.

The exterior view of the covered walkway and courtyard exemplifies one of oak framing’s most charming attributes – the colonnade. The three-centred arch forming the gate opening, combined with the adjacent old garden wall, showcases the elegance of oak framing. This building stands as a resounding success, promising years of enjoyment ahead.

Architect: The Green Oak Carpentry Company

Builder: Parnell Contractors Ltd.

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