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Celebrating Hertfordshire schools

19 November 2013

Whilst we are in the midst of the current debate around delivery of future schools through standardised designs, it is worth looking back into recent history to draw on lessons learnt. Hertfordshire County Council pioneered a programme of constructing new schools using standardised prefabricated components back in the late 1940s. Driven by the need to innovate in the face of shortages of materials and labour and against a rapidly rising birth rate, the County Council’s approach involved using lightweight structural steel frames which were then clad in concrete or lightweight panels. The drive towards standardisation ran in parallel with commissioning bespoke art by contemporary artists including sculpture by Henry Moore and murals by Kenneth Rowntree. Seven of these schools are now listed out of a total of 38 post war listed schools in the country. This programme remains an fascinating example of how identity and tailor made design were delivered to each school against the background of cost and programme constraints.


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